Mario Batali's Apology For Alleged Sexual Misconduct Included A Cinnamon Roll Recipe & Twitter Is Not Pleased
After being let go as a host of ABC's The Chew and stepping away from his businesses' day-to-day operations due to allegations of sexual misconduct, celebrity chef Mario Batali sent out an apology newsletter via email that has infuriated people on Twitter. That's because the note reportedly ended with a recipe for pizza dough cinnamon rolls, according to People. Users on the social network are calling it "tone deaf" for the unexpected promotional messaging that followed a serious statement regarding accusations of inappropriate behavior. (Bustle reached out to Batali's team for a comment on the backlash, but did not receive an immediate response.)
Per a copy of the newsletter that People shared, the email begins,
"As many of you know, this week there has been some news coverage about some of my past behavior. I have made many mistakes and I am so very sorry that I have disappointed my friends, my family, my fans and my team. My behavior was wrong and there are no excuses. I take full responsibility."
On Monday, Dec. 11, Batali was accused of misconduct by four women in an article published on Eater New York. Batali provided the publication with a statement acknowledging that the "behavior was wrong and there are no excuses." Then, on Dec. 14, The Chew's official Facebook page shared an update confirming that ABC had "terminated its relationship" with the chef. "While we remain unaware of any type of inappropriate behavior involving him and anyone affiliated with our show," the statement read, "ABC takes matters like this very seriously as we are committed to a safe work environment and his past behavior violates our standards of conduct."
In his email, which People noted is a newsletter sent to his fans, Batali continued,
"Sharing the joys of Italian food, tradition and hospitality with all of you, each week, is an honor and privilege. Without the support of all of you — my fans — I would never have a forum in which to expound on this."
Batali then said he would "work every day to regain" the respect and trust of his fans, signed the letter with his initials, then ended the email with a recipe recommendation. The final sentence of Batali's apology email read,
"ps. in case you're searching for a holiday-inspired breakfast, these Pizza Dough Cinnamon Rolls are a fan favorite."
Users on Twitter shared a screenshot of the email with messages expressing their criticism of the combination of an apology for alleged sexual misconduct and a holiday-inspired recipe recommendation.
According to Eater, Batali was reprimanded by his company, Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group, two months ago for "inappropriate behavior in the work place." The publication claims a restaurant employee filed a complaint against him in October, which was reportedly the first time a formal complaint had been made against Batali.
One of Batali's four accusers told Eater about an experience with Batali where he allegedly rubbed her breasts with his hands after she'd spilt wine on her shirt. "I just stepped back from him in utter disgust and walked away," the former employee claimed. Another woman claimed he allegedly groped her and "compelled her to straddle him" in separate incidents.
Batali's original statement on the allegations to Eater read, in part:
"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."
Given the serious nature of the accusations people online have expressed disappointment in the way Batali, or someone in his organization, chose to end apology note. Indeed, the message could have simply ended with Batali's signature, sans any recipe recommendation or an attempt at cute holiday marketing copy.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit online.rainn.org.