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New York attorney general has opened an investigation into Mario Batali

A sexual harassment investigation into a famed New York restaurant has prompted a separate inquiry into celebrity chef Mario Batali, the state's attorney gen...

Posted: Jan 8, 2020 3:48 AM
Updated: Jan 8, 2020 3:59 AM

A sexual harassment investigation into a famed New York restaurant has prompted a separate inquiry into celebrity chef Mario Batali, the state's attorney general said Tuesday.

New York Attorney General Letitia James on Tuesday said Batali was not named in the primary investigation into the conditions at The Spotted Pig because he was not a principal owner and didn't have control over conditions there.

"However, as a result of our investigation we have received credible information about his alleged actions and are therefore are separately looking into him, his business partner, his management company and his three restaurants," James said.

Batali said in a statement last year: "I vehemently deny any allegations of sexual assault. My past behavior has been deeply inappropriate and I am sincerely remorseful for my actions."

CNN reached out to Batali on Tuesday but has not received a response.

Batali was one of the investors and a frequent dinner guest at The Spotted Pig in Manhattan's West Village. He was cleared a year ago by a New York City Police Department investigation of sexual misconduct allegations stemming from a former worker at restaurant who said Batali asked to wrestle with her and touch her breasts.

The AG's office said the investigation into The Spotted Pig found there was "a hostile workplace where numerous female employees were subjected to severe and pervasive incidents of unwanted touching and unwelcome sexual advances by (owner and operator Kenneth) Friedman."

The attorney general announced a settlement with Friedman for $240,000 and a 10-year profit-sharing arrangement for 11 former employees.

As part of the settlement, The Spotted Pig agreed to implement new policies, including providing and requiring training for its employees and managers on anti-sexual harassment, discrimination and hostile work environments.

Friedman has agreed to step down as The Spotted Pig operator, and he will no longer have a role or any supervisory authority in management of the restaurant.

"Every individual deserves to go to work free of fear, abuse, intimidation and retaliation," James said. "I thank the women of The Spotted Pig for their bravery, their voices and their unwavering commitment to ensuring a safe, harassment-free workplace."

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