Mario Batali reflects on his year since sexual misconduct allegations

Mario Batali is opening up about his “bad year.” In a discussion with New York Magazine, the disgraced chef — who faced multiple sexual misconduct allegations in December 2017, ranging from unwanted propositions and forcible touching to the kissing and groping of a woman who appeared to be unconscious — reflected on how much his life has changed since the accusations were first made public.

For starters, the former cohost of The Chew, whose contract with the ABC show was canceled before it went off the air in June, now spends much of his time in Northport, Michigan, where his family has a home. While Batali was often spotted in New York City in the months immediately following the allegations, he retreated to the midwest at some point after a woman accused him of raping her at Babbo – one of his two-dozen–plus restaurants – in 2004.

When the initial misconduct accusations against Batali were made, he seemed to atone for his actions. “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,” he said in a statement to Eater. “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.”

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Mario Batali out and about
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Mario Batali out and about
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 25: Mario Batali attends Passion Play: How Jessica Alba and Mario Batali Created Multichannel Marvels during the Fast Company Innovation Festival at 92nd Street Y on October 25, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Fast Company)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 15: Chef Mario Batali attends 6th Annual Mario Batali Foundation Honors dinner at Del Posto on October 15, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 15: Chef Mario Batali attends 6th Annual Mario Batali Foundation Honors dinner at Del Posto on October 15, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 14: Chef Mario Batali and television Ayesha Curry during Family Ice Cream Fun-dae hosted by Mario Batali and Ayesha Curry at Private Park at Hudson on October 14, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images for NYCWFF)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 13: (L-R) Food and music writer Brooke Mazurek, musician Jarobi White, chef Mario Batali, and moderator Isabel Gonzalez-Whitaker, deputy editor of Billboard speak on the Chefs are Rock Stars and Rock Stars are Chefs panel at Southern Glazer's Wine & Spirits of New York Trade Tasting presented by Beverage Media Group, during the Food Network & Cooking Channel New York City Wine & Food Festival presented by Coca-Cola at Pier 94 on October 13, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for NYCWFF)
THE CHEW - The hosts of 'The Chew' broadcast from Disney's Epcot Center in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Yvette Nicole Brown is the guest on Friday, October 13th. 'The Chew' airs MONDAY - FRIDAY (1-2pm, ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Disney/Todd Anderson) MARIO BATALI, CLINTON KELLY
THE CHEW - The hosts of 'The Chew' broadcast from Disney's Epcot Center in Lake Buena Vista, Florida the week of October 9, 2017. 'The Chew' airs MONDAY - FRIDAY (1-2pm, ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Disney/Todd Anderson) MICHAEL SYMON, CARLA HALL, ISLA FISHER, CLINTON KELLY, MARIO BATALI
THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JIMMY FALLON -- Episode 0697 -- Pictured: (l-r) Chef Mario Batali during an interview with host Jimmy Fallon on June 21, 2017 -- (Photo by: Andrew Lipovsky/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 21: Chef Mario Batali and Susi Cahn are seen in NoHo on June 21, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by TheStewartofNY/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 20: Chef Mario Batali arrives at EAT (RED) Food & Film Fest! at Bryant Park on June 20, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for (Red))
THE CHEW - Larry the Cable Guy is the guest, Monday, June 19, 2017 on ABC's 'The Chew.' 'The Chew' airs MONDAY - FRIDAY (1-2pm, ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Heidi Gutman/ABC via Getty Images) MARIO BATALI
THE CHEW - Ali Wentworth is a guest on 'The Chew,' Tuesday, June 6, 2017. 'The Chew' airs MONDAY - FRIDAY (1-2pm, ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Lorenzo Bevilaqua/ABC via Getty Images) MARIO BATALI, ALI WENTWORTH
THE CHEW - Tituss Burgess is the guest Monday, May 22, 2017 on ABC's 'The Chew.' 'The Chew' airs MONDAY - FRIDAY (1-2pm, ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Jeff Neira/ABC via Getty Images) MARIO BATALI, DAPHNE OZ
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 22: Mario Batali and Mariska Hargitay attend The Joyful Revolution Gala In New York City hosted by Mariska Hargitay's Joyful Heart Foundation on May 22, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Joyful Heart Foundation)
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 11: Mario Batali attends the WITNESS 25th Anniversary Gala at The Edison Ballroom on May 11, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)
THE CHEW - Jessica Seinfeld and Camilla Alves are the guests today, Tuesday, April 25, 2017 on ABC's 'The Chew.' 'The Chew' airs MONDAY - FRIDAY (1-2pm, ET) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Jeff Neira/ABC via Getty Images) CARLA HALL, MARIO BATALI
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 19: Mario Batali, Susi Cahn and Michael Symon attend 2017 Can-Do Awards at Cipriani Wall Street on April 19, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by John Lamparski/WireImage)
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Though Batali, 58, declined to be formally interviewed for the New York Magazine article because, as he said, “I’m not going to live my life in public anymore,” he did note he will remain in Northport “at least” through the end of 2018.

“I’m a lucky man,” he continued, before seemingly rethinking that statement. “Well, it’s been a bad year,” he clarified, “a bad year.”

The year has also been tough for Joe Bastianich, who built a restaurant empire with Batali over two decades. “On the day in December that it broke, I had to walk into these restaurants and talk about these allegations,” Bastianich, 50, recalled to the publication. “To see people who were crying — I became emotional at some of these meetings. It was real. Some of them felt angry. Some felt betrayed by Mario. To me, it was about bringing a bit of spirituality to the situation and immediately moving to create a new corporate culture.”

Part of that revamped culture involved Bastianich’s decision to ban Batali from setting foot in any of their restaurants again. Still, the MasterChef judge noted the accusations have had an impact on the empire the pair built, as five properties were shuttered and business has dropped in their restaurants by as much as 30 percent. “I’m dealing with a lot of negativity, these closings, to go tell 300 people we’re doing away with their jobs and shutting down their workplace,” he said. “We used to have 2,000 employees, and now we have 1,500.”

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