The New York state attorney general’s office confirmed today that it’s “looking into” claims against Mario Batali’s former business partner Joe Bastianich — the first time Bastianich has been named as a part of the process in the inquiry into Batali’s alleged sexual misconduct.
At a press conference today, attorney general Letitia James said her office has received “credible information” about Batali’s “alleged actions,” and that they’re looking into Batali, Bastianich, their former company known as B&B Hospitality Group, and their restaurants. Bastianich and his renamed hospitality group still own Babbo, Lupa, and Del Posto — specifically where claims have been filed — and others, though Batali has divested.
Eater has reached out to Bastianich for comment.
Explosive allegations of sexual misconduct first came out against Batali in 2017, and though Bastianich largely avoided accusations of misconduct, many employees said in an Eater investigation that the restaurateur played a major role in the “boys’ club” culture that discouraged sexual harassment complaints. He also admitted in 2017 that he had “heard [Batali] say inappropriate things” to employees, and that he “should have done more” to criticize Batali.
The accusations against Batali include groping and forced kissing, stemming from interviews with nearly three dozen current and former Batali employees. Since then, Batali has divested from all of his restaurants, lost television shows, and been charged with assault and battery in Boston, to which he has pleaded not guilty.
Bastianich, however, has kept control of his empire and has largely avoided any public consequences from the situation, though at least one of his restaurants reportedly took a 30 percent hit in revenue after the accusations came to light.
James’s comments came during a conference about a settlement her office brokered between the Spotted Pig restaurateur Ken Friedman and his alleged victims of sexual misconduct. In that settlement, Friedman will step away from the Spotted Pig and pay at least $240,000 to the women involved.