Top chef Mario Batali has stepped down as a co-host of The Chew after becoming the latest celebrity hit by sexual harassment allegations.
The restaurateur and cookbook favorite his been accused of inappropriate behavior over more than 20 years by four women as part of an expose published on food blog Eater New York.
“We have asked Mario Batali to step away from The Chew while we review the allegations that have just recently come to our attention,” a spokeswoman for ABC shared in a statement. “ABC takes matters like this very seriously as we are committed to a safe work environment.
“While we are unaware of any type of inappropriate behavior involving him and anyone affiliated with the show, we will swiftly address any alleged violations of our standards of conduct.”
A statement from Batali to Eater NY reads: “I apologize to the people I have mistreated and hurt. Although the identities of most of the individuals mentioned in these stories have not been revealed to me, much of the behavior described does, in fact, match up with ways I have acted.
“That behavior was wrong and there are no excuses. 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.”
The chef has also stepped away from the day-to-day running of his restaurants and businesses, stating: “I have work to do to try to regain the trust of those I have hurt and disappointed… We built these restaurants so that our guests could have fun and indulge, but I took that too far in my own behavior. I won’t make that mistake again. I want any place I am associated with to feel comfortable and safe for the people who work or dine there.”
Batali, who has hosted cooking and travel shows with pal Gwyneth Paltrow, adds: “I know my actions have disappointed many people. The successes I have enjoyed are owned by everyone on my team. The failures are mine alone.”