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Mario Batali Takes Leave Over Sexual-Misconduct Allegations

Mario Batali is taking a leave of absence from his restaurant empire and his ABC hosting gig amid multiple accusations of sexual misconduct, Eater reported Monday morning. At least four women accuse the celebrity chef of inappropriately touching them—three of them worked for his restaurants at one point during their career. Per Eater: “One former employee alleges that over the course of two years, he repeatedly grabbed her from behind and held her tightly against his body. Another former employee alleges that he groped her and that, in a separate incident, he compelled her to straddle him; another alleges that he grabbed her breasts at a party, though she no longer worked for him at the time.” Another woman alleged that Batali groped her at an event after a waiter spilled wine on her blouse. The chef, for his part, did not deny the allegations, telling Eater the descriptions do indeed “match up” with how he has behaved in the past. “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,” he wrote. “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.” ABC has asked Batali to step away from co-hosting The Chew while it investigates allegations.