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Mario Batali Compares Bankers to Stalin, Hitler

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Photo: Time

Mario Batali, chef and member of the 1%, is now pissing off the Wall Street moneybags by calling them as bad as Hitler and Stalin. Batali, whose restaurant empire is in the middle of a lawsuit for illegally underpaying his 99% workforce, was quoted as saying at a Time magazine Person of the Year panel:

"The ways the bankers have kind of toppled the way money is distributed and taken most of it into their hands is as good as Stalin or Hitler and the evil guys?[T]heir evil has had a huge effect on the world." Yeah, probably the bankers not going to like that much. Particularly the ones who eat at Batali's upscale New York restaurants, Babbo and Del Posto. Oops.

Attention was called to the quote from the panel by Forbes writer Jeff Bercovici, who asked Batali to clarify his comment, and quotes Batali as saying "The way people change lives, I do think bankers change lives as much as a repressive [inaudible] autocrat. But, that said, it was more direct." (Bercovici takes "it" to mean the evils of Hitler and Stalin.) Batali has since claimed on Twitter Bercovici "deliberately misquoted me for a pr land grab," but Bercovici tells Eater he's got the conversation on tape. Eater reached out to Batali to find out what he claims to have said and will update when/if he responds.

Meanwhile, bankers are going into hysterics, and Bloomberg restaurant critic Ryan Sutton is acting as a liaison between pissed off rich people and the Twitter. There's also a #BoycottBatali hashtag being used.

Eater hears that one financial institution "has sent a memo to employees that it will not honor receipts from BABBO or a Batali establishment" and that another group has "canceled all of their reservations for the remainder of the year." Could it be that the 1% has finally found a cause they can rally around? You know, other than money.

Update 6PM: Mario Batali apologized for his statements.

· Steve Jobs as Time's 2011 Person of the Year [Fortune]
· Celebrity Chef Mario Batali Says Bankers As Bad As Hitler, Stalin [Forbes]
· All Mario Batali Coverage on Eater [-E-]

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