I don’t know if celebrity chef Mario Batali has made any New Year’s resolutions, but if hasn’t I can suggest one: Avoiding negative PR.
The ubiquitous Batali, who generates bad press as often as he does good (and nearly as frequently as Gordon Ramsay) is being sued—again. This time the plaintiff is a former waiter at Babbo, who claims that the portly chef stood idly by while fellow workers repeatedly smacked him on the rear end.
An aspiring actor, the ex-waiter, Eugene Gibbons, has filed a sexual harassment claim against the Greenwich Village restaurant and two other Batali corporations. In papers filed with Manhattan Criminal Court, Gibbons claims that co-workers “smacked his buttocks on a weekly basis” and on two separate occasions grabbed his genitals.
The suit further alleges that Gibbons repeatedly complained to the management but that the harassment continued:
Babbo and Batali and [Batali’s partner Joseph Bastianich] individually took no action to prevent the discriminatory conduct. By taking no action, defendants, including Babbo management and owners Batali and Bastianich, encouraged it.
Previous lawsuits against Batali include actions by:
- a landlord seeking $45,000 in unpaid rent on a failed Batali venture, The John Dory;
- former employees who claim that Batalicheated them out of wages and overtime pay and coerced into sharing tips with other workers who weren’t entitled to a cut;
- a former waiter and bartender at Batali’s L.A. restaurant Pizzeria Mozza, who claim that Batali stole their tips.
The chef was also targeted by a restaurant employees advocacy group for unsavory hiring practices and prompted clients of his high-end New York restaurant Del Posto to threaten a boycott over ill-chosen comments he offered up concerning bankers.
- Batali blasts bankers, bankers boycott Batali
- Mario Batali’s Del Posto passes Masa as world’s most expensive restaurant
- Mario Batali gets sued again
- Mario Batali in hot water again?
- New York City restaurateur and TV celeb Mario Batali in hot water (financially speaking)
- Mario Batali sued by ex-employees
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