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Chef Mario Batali accused of sexual misconduct by 4 women, report says

Chef Mario Batali accused of sexual misconduct by 4 women, report says
Posted at 8:22 AM, Dec 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-11 11:16:34-05

Celebrity Chef Mario Batali has stepped away from his restaurant businesses and also stepped away from ABC show "The Chew" amid allegations of sexual misconduct.

According to Eater, which broke the story, four women have accused Batali of sexual misconduct in what they say is a pattern of behavior spanning at least two decades.

In a statement released to Eater, Batali said the allegations "match up" with ways he has behaved.

“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.

“I have work to do to try to regain the trust of those I have hurt and disappointed. For this reason, I am going to step away from day-to-day operations of my businesses. We built these restaurants so that our guests could have fun and indulge, but I took that too far in my own behavior. I won’t make that mistake again. I want any place I am associated with to feel comfortable and safe for the people who work or dine there.

"I know my actions have disappointed many people. 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.”

Eater reports that three of the women worked for Batali in some capacity during their careers, and he was reprimanded for inappropriate behavior as recently as two months ago.

A spokesperson for Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group told Eater a B&B employee reported inappropriate behavior by Batali. Eater reports it was the first formal complaint and he was reprimanded and required to undergo training.

WATCH: Renowned Chef Mario Batali under fire after sexual harassment claims

"One former employee alleges that over the course of two years, he repeatedly grabbed her from behind and held her tightly against his body," Eater writes. "Another former employee alleges that he groped her and that, in a separate incident, he compelled her to straddle him."

Eater also reports of one woman who said Batali grabbed her breasts at a party, though she didn't work for him at the time.