• Mario Batali faces criminal investigation, NYPD officials say

    By: Natalie Dreier, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

    Updated:

    The New York Police Department is investigating celebrity chef Mario Batali, but police haven’t said exactly what they are investigating

    CBS News reported on “60 Minutes” that multiple former female employees of  The Spotted Pig, a restaurant that caters to the rich and famous in New York, claim that Batali and the co-owner of the eatery, Ken Freidman, sexually harassed or assaulted them.

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    Trish Nelson called Batali a monster, saying “Behind the scenes, he’s hurtful and he does not respect women.”

    Nelson told Anderson Cooper for the “60 Minutes” interview that Batali was called “The Red Menace” and a warning would go out when he was expected to show up at the restaurant.

    Other employees told “60 Minutes” of times they claim Batali would grab them and come on to female servers, making inappropriate comments.

    A woman who did not want to be named said that Batali drugged her in 2005. She woke up by herself in a room on the third floor of The Spotted Pig. The woman was an employee at Babbo, one of Batali’s restaurants. He had invited her to The Spotted Pig for a party. They drank white wine together when she said she lost time.

    “I remember a moment where I was on his lap, kissing him. Like he was kissing me. And then I remember throwing up -- in a toilet. And that is all,” the woman told 60 Minutes.

    The woman said she woke up, alone, in an empty room. She said she saw empty bottles and had deep scratches on her leg. 

    “The first thing I think is, ‘I’ve been drugged.’ That was the first thing I thought is, ‘I’ve been -- I’ve been assaulted.’” the woman told 60 Minutes.

    The woman returned to work hours after waking up, when she said that Batali called into the restaurant. She claims he wouldn’t talk to her when she asked what happened the night before.

    She spoke with a detective from the NYPD, but declined to file a report, 60 Minutes reported

    Batali responded to the accusations, telling 60 Minutes via a statement, “I vehemently deny the allegation that I sexually assaulted this woman.”

    B&B Hospitality Group, the restaurant group founded by Batali and Joe Bastianich, told Fox News that the company is breaking ties with Batali, saying, “The accounts tonight were chilling and deeply disturbing. This was the first we learned of them. Our partnership with Mr. Batali is ending.”

    In December, Batali was fired from “The Chew” on ABC and has left day-to-day operations from his businesses, NBC News reported.

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