(New York) American chef Mario Batali, a figure in the gastronomy in the United States accused by several women of sexual assault, was acquitted on Tuesday in one of these cases by a court in Boston.
The 61-year-old celebrity chef, known for his ABC TV show The Chew, was accused by a 32-year-old woman of taking advantage of her as they took selfies together at a Boston restaurant, in the forcing her to kiss him and touching her between the legs. The incident dated back to April 2017.
“It’s an understatement to say that Mr. Batali didn’t cover himself in glory on the night in question,” Boston City Court Judge James Stanton said when reading his ruling, which was reported by news outlets. American television.
But he also pointed out that the complainant had “significant credibility issues” and added that the images on the selfies did not suggest that a sexual assault was taking place, before finding Mario Batali not guilty of the bombing. modesty and violence.
Supporting Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden expressed disappointment, noting in a statement that “it [could] be incredibly difficult for a victim to disclose a sexual assault”, and “even more difficult and intimidating” in the face of “a person of power or a celebrity”.
Born in Seattle, of Italian descent, Mario Batali was one of the most popular personalities of gastronomy in the United States, thanks to his television show and his character of bon vivant, recognizable by his ponytail and his Orange fangs.
But a series of sexual assault accusations from 2017 had tarnished the success of this chef, who had invested in several restaurants and gastronomic places in New York, including one of the temples of Italian cuisine, the local franchise of the Eataly chain. Since then, he had retired.
In July 2021, Mario Batali and one of his associates agreed to pay $600,000 to about 20 former employees who had brought charges of sexual harassment, as part of a legal settlement before the New York Attorney General. York, Letitia James.