By Stephen Iervolino
ABC/Lorenzo Bevilaqua(NEW YORK) — Beleaguered chef Mario Batali is being investigated by the New York Police Department for sexual assault allegations raised in a 60 Minutes report that aired Sunday.
The NYPD told ABC News that a second allegation was brought to the NYPD late last year and dates to 2004. It was brought to the department’s attention soon after the #MeToo movement was born out of the Harvey Weinstein matter. That case remains open. The allegation is similar to the incident on 60 Minutes in that this second case involves an unconscious woman.
We’re told she alleges that she was at his restaurant Babbo in January 2004, lost consciousness and found Batali on top of her when she awoke.
The 60 Minutes report featured an unidentified former employee of Batali’s, who spoke out about the 57-year-old chef and former TV star, saying he drugged and assaulted her at a popular New York City restaurant more than a decade ago.
“I remember a moment where I was on his lap, kissing him. Like, he was kissing me,” she said on the program. “And then I remember throwing up in a toilet. And that is all. I woke up by myself on the floor. The first thing I think is I’ve been drugged….I’ve been assaulted,” she said.
The woman added that she spoke to police after the alleged incident but did not file a report.
A request for comment from Batali’s rep wasn’t immediately returned to ABC News, but the chef “vehemently” denied the assault to 60 Minutes.
Last December, four women came forward and told the website Eater that Batali had sexually harassed them.
“I apologize to the people I have mistreated and hurt,” Batali said in part at the time. “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.”
After the Eater piece, Batali was asked to leave ABC’s The Chew and he offered to step away from the day-to-day operations of his restaurant group, the Batali and Bastianich Hospitality Group.
A rep told 60 Minutes that it finds the allegations “deeply disturbing” and that “our partnership with Mr. Batali is ending…”
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Source:: Entertainment News