ALBANY — Celebrity chef Mario Batali pulled out of a fundraiser for Gov. Cuomo hours after he publicly acknowledged sexual harassment allegations against him, the Daily News has learned.
Batali and fellow celebrity chef Lidia Bastianich were part of a $ 10,000-per-plate holiday dinner Cuomo fundraiser scheduled for Dec. 19 at the Columbus Club in New York City. The two cooked at a similar event for Cuomo last year.
But a Cuomo source said Batali pulled out of the coming event on Monday just hours after he surrendered oversight of daily operations at his restaurant empire following reports that he engaged in sexual misconduct for at least two decades.
The event is still scheduled to go on with Bastianich, who has been a partner with Batali. It’s not clear whether another chef will be brought in to replace Batali.
Eater New York reported that Batali sexually harassed at least four women, including one who said the celebrity chef groped her chest after wine had been spilled on her shirt.
Another woman said Batali grabbed her from behind and held her tightly against his body, the report said.
Stars accused of sexual harassment and assault
Batali, in a statement to the Associated Press, owned up to his behavior.
“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,” Batali said.