Mario Batali and Restaurant The Spotted Pig Under Investigation for Sexual Harassment

Celebrity chef was an investor and frequent visitor at the establishment

The state of New York is investigating sexual harassment and workplace discrimination allegations at the restaurant, The Spotted Pig, where Mario Batali was an investor, the New York Times reported on Monday.

An anonymous source informed the Times that the office of New York attorney general Barbara D. Underwood issued a subpoena to the Spotted Pig’s holding company and its majority owner, restaurateur Ken Friedman. The source said the subpoena is part of a civil rights investigations and seeks records of “sexually suggestive communications” between Friedman and employees. It also seeks video footage of Batali, a frequent visitor, with female employees in the restaurant’s “third-floor party room,” which was previously referred to by some employees as “the rape room.”

“New Yorkers are entitled to workplaces free of sexual harassment, discrimination and intimidation,” Underwood said in a statement to the Times.

Friedman and Batali both declined to provide comment to the Times. Representative for Batali did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.

Reporting done by the Times in December revealed allegations by 10 women of “unwanted sexual advances” from Friedman. They recounted instances that included Friedman groping them in public, demanding sex and sending sexually explicit text messages.

Allegations against Batali first came out in an Eater article published December 2017, where four women accused him of sexual misconduct. In a statement addressing the allegations, Batali wrote, “Much of the behavior described does, in fact, match up with ways I have acted. That behavior was wrong and there are no excuses.”

The New York police opened a criminal investigation into the allegations in May, first reported on CBS’ newsmagazine show “60 Minutes.” Since the allegations, several establishments owned by Batali’s restaurant group have closed and Batali has been fired from the ABC cooking show, “The Chew.”

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