This post has been updated.
Tuesday’s episode of “The Chew” had a moment that is becoming all too familiar to television viewers lately, as powerful TV hosts are accused of sexual misconduct. The show’s co-hosts addressed the absence of co-host Mario Batali, after ABC announced it had removed the chef from the show on Monday in the wake of allegations by four women of unwanted touching and sexual remarks. Batali also stepped back from operations of the 26 restaurants he co-owns around the world after the website Eater published a story about the allegations.
“Yesterday allegations of past improper behavior surfaced about our own Mario Batali, and ABC asked him to step away from the show while those allegations are reviewed,” said co-host Clinton Kelly. “We want you to know we take these matters very seriously, and are committed to a safe work environment,” said co-host Michael Symon. “Our commitment to our viewers remains the same: To deliver the entertaining show you’ve come to expect,” said co-host Carla Hall.
The statements follow two instances of on-air reckoning from the colleagues of Matt Lauer and Charlie Rose, who have been accused of sexual misconduct and were fired.
“This is a sad morning here at ‘Today’ and at NBC News,” Today show host Savannah Guthrie said, holding co-host Hoda Kotb’s hand as they opened the show on which they announced Lauer’s departure.
“Let me be very clear: There is no excuse for this alleged behavior. It is systematic and pervasive,” said CBS “This Morning” co-host Norah O’Donnell, reporting on the departure of Charlie Rose after The Washington Post published a story detailing his harassment of several women.
Tuesday’s episode of “The Chew” was a notable contrast from Monday’s, which aired just a few hours after the allegations against Batali were published. The trio of hosts were dressed in leis and Hawaiian shirts for a Christmas luau-themed show. An ABC spokeswoman told The Post the show was recorded last week. Batali has not been on the show since Monday, Dec. 4.
“It’s all over the Internet,” said co-host Clinton Kelly, but he wasn’t talking about Batali. Instead, it was “A Christmas pineapple!” he said, telling his colleagues about a party trend. “Do you want to decorate one right now?”
Symon and Hall tested out a pair of hand-holding mittens. The trio made crafts and giggled. The authors of “Trap Kitchen” showed up to cook some salmon and pineapple. It progressed into a pig roast. There was no indication that anything was amiss at “The Chew.”
Batali apologized for the harassment in a statement to The Post, the same statement he provided to Eater.
“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.”
An ABC spokesperson did not answer questions about how Batali’s absence will be addressed on future episodes of the show, but ABC issued a statement earlier in the day.
“ABC takes matters like this very seriously as we are committed to a safe work environment,” the statement read. “While we are unaware of any type of inappropriate behavior involving him and anyone affiliated with the show, we will swiftly address any alleged violations of our standards of conduct.”
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