Photo by Roy Rochlin via Getty Images

How not to apologize for sexual misconduct claims

Tim Nelson
February 07, 2018

As of last week, multiple women have come forward so far to accuse Italian chef and TV personality Mario Batali of sexual misconduct. Given the multiple reports and evidence that it’s a pattern of behavior spanning multiple decades, the fallout has been swift. 

Though Batali is far from the only male celebrity or chef whose inappropriate sexual behavior has surfaced in recent months, he deserves special recognition for offering up the most tone-deaf apology letter. Instead of just admitting that his behavior was somehow far more uglier than his signature orange Crocs and announcing his subsequent retirement from the food world, Mario saw fit to throw in a recipe for breakfast cinnamon rolls. Much like the victims who have recently spoken up about Batali’s years of harassment and abuse, this holiday breakfast treat was apparently something the disgraced chef couldn’t stay silent about any longer. 

“Ps- in case you’re searching for a holiday-inspired breakfast, these Pizza Dough Cinnamon Rolls are a fan favorite,” said the chef who allegedly spent time groping women in the Spotted Pig’s “Rape Room”.  They’re the perfectly awkward way to start a conversation about male power dynamics and the misogynistic climate of the restaurant industry with friends and loved ones this holiday season. 

Naturally, Twitter quickly took Batali to task for the tone-deaf  addendum to his apology letter, which uses the words “sorry” and “pizza dough” an equal number of times. 

The allegations against Batali were first reported by Eater, who spoke with four women who say Batali has behaved in a sexually inappropriate manner in his restaurants since at least the 90’s. Subsequently, his name has been pulled from Eataly and other elements of his restaurant empire, he’s been kicked off The Chew by ABC, and his products will no longer grace the shelves of Target or Wal-Mart. Before the email, Batali released a separate statement last week saying “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."

With more and more women emboldened to speak out for the first time, who knows when the reckoning with workplace sexual harassment and assault will end in the restaurant industry or culture at large. Hopefully whoever’s next to fall will at least have enough grace and tact to not plug their breakfast cinnamon rolls as the door hits them on their way out. 

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