Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich Agree to Pay $600K as Settlement in Sexual Harassment Case
WENN/Adriana M. Barraza

Aside from paying the employees, the former co-host of 'The Chew', his former business partner and their management group must revise their 'training materials' and submit biannual reports.

AceShowbiz - Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich have reached a settlement in their sexual harassment case. On Friday, July 23, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced that the former host of "The Chew", his former partner and their management group B&B hospitality agreed to pay a total of $600,000 to at least 20 workers.

The settlement came after four years of investigation by the attorney general's office. According to the agreement filed with the court, "B&B, Batali, and Bastianich had engaged in unlawful sex discrimination and retaliation, in violation of state and city human rights laws" at their restaurants Babbo, Lupa and the now-shuttered Del Posto.

"Celebrity and fame does not absolve someone from following the law. Sexual harassment is unacceptable for anyone, anywhere - no matter how powerful the perpetrator," James said in a statement. "Batali and Bastianich permitted an intolerable work environment and allowed shameful behavior that is inappropriate in any setting."

In the agreement, it was stated that "several female employees were forcibly groped, hugged, and/or kissed by male colleagues." It added, "Batali himself sexually harassed a female server by making explicit comments to her and grabbing her hand while she was serving him and pulling it towards his crotch. On another occasion, Batali showed a male server at Lupa an unwelcome pornographic video."

Juliana Imperati, who worked as a former line cook at Del Posto, also came with her claims. She divulged, "When my female coworkers and I were being sexually harassed by multiple people at Del Posto, the restaurant's leadership made us feel as if we were asking for it - as if it is a rite of passage to be harassed at work."

Former server at the restaurant Brianna Pintens additionally alleged, "Throughout the course of my employment at Del Posto, I endured constant, escalating sexual harassment." Brianna went on, "Management routinely ignored these behaviors, made excuses for the perpetrators, and often used victim blaming as a way to avoid having to deal with a workplace culture rooted in fear and humiliation."

Aside from paying the ex-workers, Batali, Bastianich and B&B are required to revise "training materials" in all of their restaurants. They will also "submit biannual reports to the OAG to certify compliance with this settlement, including records of harassment and discrimination trainings and policies for the next three years."

Batali was first hit with sexual harassment allegations in 2017. He was then fired from his cooking talk show "The Chew" and later resigned from daily operations at his restaurant group.

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