The Internet responded, quickly and in fury. Many say that plugging a recipe after apologizing for sexually inappropriate behavior was utterly tone deaf and that doing so rendered the apology insincere.
“A 30 for 30 on how Mario Batali came to the decision that posting a cinnamon roll recipe with an apology responding to sexual harassment allegations was a good idea,” New York Times culture writer Sopan Deb tweeted Saturday.
And here’s Times restaurant critic Pete Wells:
Magazine editor Tina Brown was equally unforgiving when asked Saturday on CNN for her reaction: “How about pigs in a blanket, Mario? How about that delicious British sweet and raisin dessert, spotted dick? Sorry but, you know Mario, this ain’t the right kind of apology. I don’t think this is where it’s at. Pigs in a blanket, Mario.”
Others took it a step further. Freelance marketing consultant Amy Wood posted a video of her baking Batali’s recipe — and using more than a hint of sarcasm.
“Good morning content fans. I’m baking the Mario Batali Apology Pizza Dough Cinnamon Rolls on my instagram today,” Wood posted Sunday morning, along with a video of her rolling a dough. The text on the video reads: “Next you’re gonna wanna roll your apology so it’s so thin it’s almost meaningless.”
The allegations against the 57-year-old chef, who owns numerous restaurants and has amassed lucrative TV and book deals, were first published by the website Eater on Monday. Four women accused Batali of groping them, and the allegations spanned at least two decades.
More women have since come forward.
Holly Gunderson, who once worked as a special events director for Batali’s Los Angeles restaurant Osteria Mozza, said the chef made inappropriate advances during a party hosted by Vanity Fair publisher Edward Menicheschi in 2010. Batali, who was the main attraction, arrived late and drunk, Gunderson told The Washington Post.
And as she was escorting Batali to meet his guests, he turned to her and said, “I want to see you naked in my hot tub back in the hotel,” Gunderson alleged.
Later that night, Batali walked by her and grabbed her by the crotch, she said.
Batali did not deny the allegations. In a statement to The Post about the Vanity Fair party, Batali called himself “the personification of idiocy, a drunken and idiotic fool” who disrespected his staff and guests.
“That behavior was horribly wrong, shameful and degrading and there are no excuses. I wish I could have the day back and do it right,” Batali said. “I take full responsibility for my deplorable actions and am deeply sorry for any pain, humiliation or anguish I caused.”
In a statement responding to the allegations published by Eater, Batali said that he does not know who the accusers are but that the behavior described in the story “does, in fact, match up with ways I have acted.”
The New York Times also reported last week that employees at the Spotted Pig, a Manhattan restaurant that Batali frequented, said they regularly experienced or witnessed Batali’s inappropriate sexual behavior — often with the knowledge of the restaurant’s co-owner, Ken Friedman, who also is accused of sexual harassment.
Actress Siobhan Thompson told “CBS This Morning” that Batali had touched her breasts when she used to work as a hostess at one of his restaurants.
Since the allegations, Batali has stepped away from the day-to-day operations of his 26 restaurants, though he remains a co-owner. He is no longer co-hosting “The Chew,” an ABC daytime talk show. And Food Network has put on hold its plans to relaunch “Molto Mario.”
Batali is the latest in a long line of famous and powerful men in politics, the media and the entertainment industry who have fallen from grace over accusations of sexual misconduct.
Maura Judkis and Emily Heil contributed to this article.