Two months after a judge found him not guilty of charges of sexual misconduct, disgraced chef Mario Batali has settled lawsuits with two women who sued the chef for allegedly sexually assaulting them.
The terms of the settlement are confidential, but attorneys for both women told Reuters that the “matters have been resolved to the satisfaction of all parties.” Unless any new victims come forward, or any additional lawsuits are filed, these settlements likely mean that the six-year-long legal saga that followed allegations from multiple women that they were assaulted by Batali is over.
The Boston cases centered around two separate allegations from women who say they were forcibly groped by Batali in 2016 and 2017. Criminal charges were brought against Batali for the 2017 incident, during which a woman testified Batali kissed and groped her genitals while they took a selfie at a Boston restaurant; those criminal charges were dismissed in a non-jury trial in May.
In 2017, Batali stepped away from his restaurant empire after an Eater NY report outlining several allegations of sexual misconduct. In 2021, Batali, alongside his business partner Joe Bastianich, paid a $600,000 settlement to more than 20 employees who were sexually harassed at their restaurants: A four-year investigation by the New York attorney general concluded that the group “permitted a sexualized culture of misconduct and harassment.”
It’s unclear how much money Batali had to hand over in these two Boston cases — both attorneys did not comment specifically on the terms, citing “confidentiality obligations.” But any cash settlement still feels pretty paltry considering that the chef has admitted that his behavior “match[ed] up” with previous allegations of misconduct. To be clear, Batali chose to settle the civil cases in Boston: He offered to pay an amount of money to make them go away. Batali is a very rich man — estimates suggest that even after (finally) divesting from his restaurant group, he’s still worth about $25 million — and has resources far beyond his accusers to clear his name in court. Instead, he chose to settle, possibly so he can get back to that comeback he’s already tried to mount, and not just with that awful cinnamon roll recipe disguised as a mea culpa.
What’s next for Batali is anyone’s guess, but it’s hard to think that he doesn’t feel vindicated by how the legal system worked for him. His pockets are probably a bit emptier now, sure, but he likely feels he can now move on. And maybe, just maybe, we’ll all now be able to do the same and forget that Batali ever existed, and perhaps most importantly, be totally unwilling to give him another chance to engage in this behavior again.