ESC

Mario Batali Was a Regular in His Restaurant’s ‘Rape Room’

Whenever something is referred to as a “rape room,” some shit is going down. Such was the case at The Spotted Pig, the formerly Michelin-starred New York gastropub owned by Ken Friedman. Friedman is accused of sexually harassing a number of women in the third-floor VIP room.

Mario Batali, the celebrity chef who recently stepped away from The Chew after allegations of inappropriate behavior, was apparently also caught in the “rape room” with an unconscious woman.

It was also where former manager Jamie Seet had to intervene after seeing on a security feed that celebrity chef Mario Batali was allegedly kissing and groping a woman who appeared to be unconscious, Seet told The Times.

“We called him the Red Menace,” [server Trish] Nelson, 40, said of Batali. “He tried to touch my breasts and told me that they were beautiful. He wanted to wrestle. As I was serving drinks to his table, he told me I should sit on his friend’s face.”

I should mention Batali, along with Jay-Z, is a part-owner of the restaurant. Which means he wasn’t just being an obnoxious customer, he was talking to one of his employees like that.

This leaves chef April Bloomfield in charge, as Friedman has taken a leave of absence.

The restaurant group’s partner and star chef April Bloomfield denied turning a blind eye to prior complaints about Friedman.

“In the two matters involving uninvited approaches that were brought to my attention over the years, I immediately referred both to our outside labor counsel and they were addressed internally,” she told The Times.

“I have spoken to Ken about professional boundaries and relied on him to uphold our policies. Nonetheless I feel we have let down our employees and for that I sincerely apologize,” she said.

I mean, they called the VIP lounge the rape room. Hopefully the culture changes at the beloved NYC restaurant now, but still.

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