ABC's The Chew is losing a co-host for the second time this year, although this time, it's safe to say no one was planning for it. Celebrity chef Mario Batali is stepping down from the daytime series following a series of allegations of sexual misconduct that were reported by an online food-trade publication. Additionally, Batali has stepped down from his company Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group for an indefinite period of time.
As for the actual allegations, the online publication Eater New York published the accounts of four women after conducting dozens of other interviews with restaurant workers and their experiences with Mario Batali over the past two decades in the restaurant world. The interviews, which paint Batali in a much different light than what his fans have seen on camera, indicate a pattern of inappropriate conduct with women over the years. The women's allegations mainly revolve around the groping of breasts and buttocks and, in one instance, a former employee alleged that Batali prompted her to straddle him. While it's unknown if any of this occurred on the set of The Chew or other TV series that Batali has been a part of, it has been confirmed that Batali had already been officially reprimanded for misconduct at his business Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group as recently as two months ago.
While the specific allegations at this time remain unconfirmed by the chef, Mario Batali's apologetic statement would appear to indicate he acknowledges there is some truth to what is being reported. Without addressing details, Batali issued a public apology for his actions:
In addition to the allegations of groping and other inappropriate behavior, it's reported that some of those who came forward were previously afraid to speak out against Mario Batali for fear of retaliation from the celebrity chef. Those that feared repercussions stated Batali is known for taking on a very threatening demeanor when he's felt wronged by others, making his actions all the more aggressive. This is backed up by a former co-owner of one of Batali's restaurants in the '90s, Steve Crane, who said the women who complained to him would ask that he not tell Batali about the complaints, worrying it would only make things worse.
As for exiting The Chew, it was ABC who asked Mario Batali to step down while the network reviews the allegations. Batali joined The Chew in 2011 and has since appeared in over 1,000 episodes of the daytime foodie series. In an official statement, ABC remarked it was not immediately aware of any misconduct on Batali's part on the set of the show, but that an investigation is underway:
Elsewhere on the TV spectrum, USA Today reported that plans to revive the former Iron Chef's Food Network series Molto Mario have been put on hold while these allegations are handled accordingly. And he's not the only celebrity chef that's gotten into hot water over harassment claims, as Southern chef John Besh recently faced a slew of heated accusations of his own, causing him to step down from his Besh Restaurant Group, with his already filmed Top Chef Season 15 appearance unlikely to happen.
Now without Mario Batali, The Chew airs weekdays on ABC at 1:00 p.m. ET. For more on upcoming programming, visit our fall premiere guide and midseason premiere guide. For a look at some shows that have been canceled in 2017, visit our cancellation guide. For a look at what's up on Netflix, visit our Netflix guide.