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Mario Batali Takes Leave of Absence Following Sexual Misconduct Allegations

By TheBlast Staff

Chef Mario Batali is taking a leave of absence from his restaurant — and ABC's "The Chew" — following several allegations of sexual misconduct.

Four women have come forward to accuse the chef of inappropriate touching over a span of 20 years, according to Eater.

One woman told the site he groped her breasts after offering her a job, while another claimed he ordered her to straddle him. One woman claimed that he grabbed her breasts at a party, though she no longer worked for him at the time.

A spokesperson for "The Chew" said Batali will be stepping away from the show while they "review the allegations that have just recently come to our attention."

Batali released a statement to Eater, in which he did not deny any of the allegations. Read it below.

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.

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