In the wake of fresh allegations that Joe Bastianich and Mario Batali created an environment that tolerated sexual harassment, business partners Nancy Silverton and Lidia Bastianich have taken on new roles in the company and Mario Batali has been barred from the restaurants.
Eater.com reported that Joe Bastianich, as well Batali, created an environment in which, over the past 15 years, staffers were subjected to sexual misconduct and didn’t speak out for fear of ostracism, termination and other repercussions, such as being black-listed from the restaurant industry.
In a prepared statement, the Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group said, “Mario Batali is no longer involved in any operations, and he will not be going into any of the restaurants.”
The statement also said that Lidia Bastianich and Nancy Silverton “will now take on leadership roles and responsibilities in the company to help ensure everyone has a safe and positive workplace and to steer our culinary direction.”
It added that the company would hire “experienced senior management to oversee daily operations and help build a stronger culture of respect and compliance with our policies and training.”
A B&B spokesman said those new hires would include a senior human resources executive “among other anticipated hires.”
The company also said it would hire “an outside firm to survey our employees, examine the compliance of our executives, managers, chefs, and staff with our policies, and report back with findings and appropriate personnel recommendations. We will enforce our sexual harassment policies, including termination where and when appropriate.”
The spokesman said there were no other position changes in the company at the time, indicating that Joe Bastianich would retain his management position.
Joe Bastianich said in a statement: “The stories I have read and heard these past two weeks about Mario and our company have shaken me to the core. Other stories I have now heard about employee mistreatment, violation of our sexual harassment policies, and that some employees felt they had no future in our company are terrible and unacceptable. I am sorry that I didn’t devote enough attention to the business, didn’t do enough to protect my employees, and delegated too much of the day-to-day to others. I’m now refocusing my energies here where they belong, and have already taken specific steps to do so.”
Those steps include hiring the outside firm and changing Silverton’s and Lidia Bastianich’s roles as part of a restructuring “to better reflect that we’re comprised of many diverse and talented people and far more than just one or two.”
Batali stepped down from his positions within the company earlier this month when Eater first reported the allegations. He was also fired as a co-host of the ABC talk show The Chew.
The B&B Hospitality Group operate a wide array of restaurants in New York City, Los Angeles and Las Vegas as well Eataly food-and-restaurant complexes. They have more than 1,700 employees.
Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected]
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