Following shocking reports about Mario Batali’s alleged sexual misconduct over the last two decades, ABC is ending its relationship with the chef, who has co-hosted the network’s daytime food show The Chew since 2011. Batali was asked to take a leave from the show on Monday, when Eater NY first reported the allegations of sexual misconduct from four women, three of whom worked at Batali’s restaurants over the years. But now, ABC has made the final decision.
“Upon completing its review into the allegations made against Mario Batali, ABC has terminated its relationship with him and he will no longer appear on The Chew,” a spokesperson says in a statement sent to Deadline. “While we remain unaware of any type of inappropriate behavior involving him and anyone affiliated with our show, ABC takes matters like this very seriously, as we are committed to a safe work environment and his past behavior violates our standards of conduct.”
On Tuesday, The Chew’s three remaining hosts — Clinton Kelly, Carla Hall, and Michael Symon — delivered a message to viewers at the start of the show acknowledging Batali’s temporary departure due to “allegations of past improper behavior,” and the staff’s mission to “to deliver the entertaining show that you’ve come to expect.” Since Tuesday, they have filmed episodes as a trio.
ABC has not announced any plans to fill Batali’s hosting slot. A cast member since the shows inception six years ago, Batali has appeared in nearly 1,100 episodes of The Chew. The chef’s face and name have already been scrubbed from The Chew’s homepage, although his dishes are still featured in the recipe database.
Batali announced that he was stepping down from the day-to-day operations of his sprawling restaurant empire on Monday. The Food Network subsequently announced plans to freeze the forthcoming season of Molto Mario, and both Target and Eataly — which counts Batali as a partner — removed his products from their shelves.
In a statement sent to Eater, Batali did not deny the allegations that lead to his departure from the public eye. “That behavior was wrong and there are no excuses,” the chef explained. “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.”
Mario’s removal from The Chew is actually the second major change that ABC has made to one of its programs due to allegations of sexual misconduct this week: On Wednesday, the network announced that it was shelving the Great American Baking Show, which just premiered last Friday, because former employees of co-host Johnny Iuzzini have accused the chef of sexual misconduct and abuse in the kitchen of Jean-Georges in New York City.
• Mario Batali Fired From ‘The Chew’ After Sexual Misconduct Investigation [Deadline]
• Mario Batali Steps Away From Restaurant Empire Following Sexual Misconduct Allegations [ENY]
• ‘The Chew’ Cast Addresses Mario Batali Allegations [E]