ABC has terminated its relationship with celebrity chef Mario Batali.
"While we remain unaware of any type of inappropriate behavior involving him and anyone affiliated with our show, ABC takes matters like this very seriously as we are committed to a safe work environment and his past behavior violates our standards of conduct," the spokesperson said.
Batali stepped away from his business and The Chew earlier this week after four women accused him of groping them inappropriately in an article published by the Eater New York.
And in Tuesday's New York Times expose on The Spotted Pig, a high-end NYC restaurant of which Batali was a frequent visitor, the number of sexual misconduct allegations against him increased even higher, as past and present employees told reporters "they regularly experienced or witnessed sexual aggression by Mr. Batali there."
The article details the ugly world behind the scenes at supposedly "high class" establishments like The Spotted Pig. The West Village hot spot is known for being a key social center point for the city's elite, and employees say they were expected to put up with catcalls, wandering hands, and outright physical advances from the owner Ken Friedman and his powerful friends.
Former employees called the restaurant's VIP space "the rape room."
Batali owns B&B Hospitality Group with Joe Bastianich, which provides support to around 24 restaurants around the world, and in October 2017, a B&B employee reported inappropriate behavior by Batali to the company. The report marked the first formal complaint against the chef and the company says Batali was reprimanded and required to undergo training.
In a statement to Eater, Batali said that he is stepping away from the day-to-day operations of his businesses for an unspecified period of time and did not deny all of the claims against him.
"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," the statement reads. "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."
"I know my actions have disappointed many people," he concluded. "The successes I have enjoyed are owned by everyone on my team. The failures are mine alone. To the people who have been at my side during this time — my family, my partners, my employees, my friends, my fans — I am grateful for your support and hopeful that I can regain your respect and trust. I will spend the next period of time trying to do that."