If you want to know how not to respond to allegations of sexual misconduct, we present Mario Batali's latest apology. In his newsletter, Batali, who has been accused of sexual misconduct over the past two decades by at least four women, issued an apology that included one mention of "sorry" and, inexplicably, one recipe for his "fan favorite" cinnamon rolls. Not surprisingly, fans didn't love his tone-deaf mea culpa.
Batali's apology, which comes the day after he was fired from ABC's The Chew, began with him addressing the "news coverage about some of my past behavior," and acknowledging his bad behavior.
"I have made many mistakes and I am so very sorry that I have disappointed my friends, my family, my fans, and my team," the chef wrote. "My behavior was wrong and there are no excuses. I take full responsibility."
Batali — who has stepped down from his restaurant empire following an Eater report on the allegations against him — then noted that "sharing the joys of Italian food, tradition, and hospitality with all of you, each week, is an honor and privilege." It's one he doesn't take for granted, and why he says he's going to "work every day to regain your respect and trust."
Batali could have just stopped there. Unfortunately, he didn't. He instead added a postscript in which he gave a suggestion for the perfect holiday morning meal. "P.S. in case you're searching for a holiday-inspired breakfast," he wrote, "these Pizza Dough Cinnamon Rolls are a fan favorite."
It was that final thought that had people on Twitter wondering why he thought adding a recipe was a good way to end a newsletter in which he admitted to sexual harassment. Many were shocked at how flippant the recipe's addition seemed.
The newsletter was actually Batali's second apology. After an Eater report in which four women, who chose to remain anonymous, accused him of grabbing their breasts and bottom, Batali released a statement to the website saying, "I apologize to the people I have mistreated and hurt" and "I take full responsibility and am deeply sorry for any pain, humiliation, or discomfort I have caused to my peers, employees, customers, friends, and family."
Since then, The Washington Post has published an additional woman's claim that she was touched inappropriately by the celebrity chef in 2010. This week, restaurateur Ken Friedman, owner of The Spotted Big in New York City, in which Batali was an early investor, was accused of sexual harassment by multiple women. In the New York Times report, employees of The Spotted Pig said they "regularly experienced or witnessed sexual aggression by Batali there, often with Mr. Friedman’s knowledge." In the piece, employees reportedly called The Spotted Pig’s VIP lounge, which Friedman and Batali allegedly frequented, the “rape room.”
The news led The Spotted Pig chef April Bloomfield to release her own apology regarding the allegations against Friedman and her own complicitness in what allegedly happened at the restaurant.
"It is over," she wrote in the statement, released on Twitter. “I pledge that in any workplace I am part of the employees will be judged by performance only. I pledge to show respect, always, and that under my watch no employee will endure this kind of pain again.”
Others in the food world have also reacted to the Batali allegations, most notably Top Chef's Tom Colicchio, who tweeted "And no one should be surprised" shortly after the Eater story went live.
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).
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