Another door has closed for Mario Batali, the celebrity chef who once starred on multiple Food Network shows and helmed his own restaurant empire.
The popular Italian food retailer Eataly, which has dozens of locations around the world, has officially said goodbye to Batali, buying out his minority stake in the company, the Associated Press reported Friday.
Batali, who was previously best known for wearing orange Crocs and sporting a long, red ponytail, has shied away from the spotlight since 2017 when several former employees came forward to accuse him of sexual harassment.
Both the New York City Police Department and law enforcement officials in Boston's Suffolk County are conducting criminal investigations. The Suffolk County District Attorney has filed charges against Batali for indecent assault and battery. If found guilty, he could face prison time and would be required to register as a sex offender.
Batali's accuser described his alleged acts as "dehumanizing" and "humiliating."
The chef's former restaurant group, B&B Hospitality Group, officially severed ties with him in 2018. The group operates more than 25 establishments around the world, including restaurants, wine shops and Eataly marketplace franchises. The group, which is now helmed by fellow celebrity chefs Joe Bastianich, Lidia Bastianich and Nancy Silverton, has already faced major changes in the wake of the scandal. They exited from the Las Vegas market entirely in 2018.
Batali was also fired from ABC's "The Chew," which was later canceled, and the Food Network, where he often appeared with Giada De Laurentiis. She has since stated that she wasn't surprised by the allegations against Batali that emerged.
The chef since has apologized for some of his actions, saying the accusations "match up" with ways he has acted.
Shortly after the first allegations were published in 2017, Batali released an apology statement, saying, "I have made many mistakes and I am so very sorry that I have disappointed my friends, my family, my fans and my team. My behavior was wrong and there are no excuses. I take full responsibility."
Then he added a recipe for cinnamon rolls to the end of that same apology note, which had many shocked readers on social media questioning his sincerity.
Batali has largely disappeared from the public eye in the past year. He recently appeared at a Boston Municipal Court in May to face the criminal charges. Batali, who has pleaded not guilty to a charge that he forcibly kissed and groped a woman in 2017 at one of his restaurant's in Boston, is next expected in court on August 30.