Famous American chefs Mario Batali and Joseph Bastianich will have to pay $ 600,000, as part of a legal agreement, to twenty former employees who had brought charges of sexual harassment in their New York restaurants, the prosecutor announced on Friday. New York State, Letitia James.
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The first accusations, brought in 2017 by four women against Mario Batali, had tarnished the success strory of this chef of Italian origin, popular figure of gastronomy in the United States, who had had to withdraw from his career. empire. Mario Batali was associated with another popular chef, Joe Bastianich, in several restaurants and they teamed up in the B&B Hospitality Group. The two men, long appreciated in cooking TV shows, had also been at the origin of one of the temples of Italian cuisine and gastronomy in New York, by partnering with the local franchise of the Eataly channel.
B&B, Batali and Bastianich must pay at least $ 600,000 to at least 20 former employees, review all training modules in all restaurants in the B&B group and submit semi-annual reports to the prosecutor's office to certify compliance with the agreement
Letitia James wrote in a statement. The facts relate to Italian restaurants in New York, Babbo, Lupa and Del Posto, which is now closed. "
Batali and Bastianich have allowed an intolerable work environment to develop and have allowed shameful behavior which is inappropriate in any setting,
" accuses Letitia James.
According to the prosecutor's statement, which released the agreement signed by the parties, “
more than 20 employees were subjected to a hostile work environment in which female and male employees were sexually harassed by Batali, restaurant managers. and other colleagues
”. According to the agreement, which details the facts, the prosecutor's office concluded that Batali "
sexually harassed a waitress at Lupa
" with explicit comments and gestures, and showed a waiter a porn video.
Between 2016 and 2019, multiple employees witnessed or personally experienced unwanted sexual advances, inappropriate touching and sexually explicit comments from managers and co-workers, and several employees were touched, hugged and / or forcibly embraced by male colleagues
, ”adds Letitia James.