Celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain says that he stands “unhesitatingly and unwaveringly with the women” who came forward to accuse fellow chef Mario Batali and restaurateur Ken Friedman of sexual assault.
Speaking to TMZ, Bourdain, who has worked closely with Batali in the past and has hinted that he was aware of the 57-year-old’s sexual misbehavior, is now coming forward to state that he stands with every woman who has come forward with accusations against Batali. He added that he was “ashamed that I was clearly not the kind of person that women friends who knew – and had stories to tell – felt comfortable confiding in."
Bourdain went on to apologize for the “extent which my work in Kitchen Confidential celebrated or prolonged a culture that allowed the kind of grotesque behaviors we're hearing about."
Reports surfaced Monday morning that Batali, who was a co-host on The Chew and owns several restaurants, had been accused of sexual assault by four different women, three of whom worked for Batali. The women alleged that Batali “touched them inappropriately in a pattern of behavior that appears to span at least two decades."
After the reports broke, Batali released a statement apologizing to those he has harmed, claiming that “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.”
Batali has since stepped away from his position on The Chew and the day-to-day operations of his businesses.