Both Walmart and Target have announced plans to drop Mario Batali-branded products from stores following accusations of sexual harassment against the celebrity chef.
"The recent sexual misconduct allegations against Mario Batali are unacceptable,” said Walmart in a statement obtained by Fox News. “We’re ending our relationship with Batali and will discontinue our business with his brand.”
Target came to a similar decision on Thursday, announcing that it would no longer be carrying any of Batali’s sauces or cookbooks online. The retailer also confirmed that it is in the process of pulling Batali’s sauces from store shelves, Eater reports.
As of Friday morning, a search for “Batali” on Target.com yielded only one result: a cookbook featuring recipes from ABC’s “The Chew,” where Batali formerly acted as a co-host. Walmart.com, meanwhile, listed only a bottle of Mario Batali’s sauce — though the item is “no longer available” to purchase.
The same might soon be said of Batali’s sauces in general, as the company that produces Batali’s products ─ Summer Garden Foods ─ has issued a statement announcing their “transition” away from the Batali brand. In the meantime, the company said, any proceeds from Batali-branded items will be donated to a nonprofit organization.
“We are proud of the products we have created that carry Mr. Batali’s brand. But the kind of behavior ascribed to Mr. Batali violates our core values and beliefs, and we take these issues very seriously,” reads a statement posted to the company’s website.
“We have taken our concerns to Mr. Batali, and he has responded. We have spoken to Mr. Batali and have agreed that he will forego any profits that he might receive from the sale of these products and instead we will direct those proceeds to a nonprofit organization. We will be focused on identifying and working with an organization that empowers and advances women and hope to have more information about that soon.
“We also will be working to transition our products away from the Batali brand. During this transition period, we hope that our grocery partners and shoppers will continue to enjoy this high-quality product. Hundreds of people’s livelihoods depend on these products and we want to use proceeds from them to do some good amid a very bad situation.”
Eataly, the Italian marketplace/retailer Batali co-owns with Joe and Lidia Bastianich, also announced earlier this week that they would no longer be carrying any products affiliated with Batali.
The accusations against Batali, 57, first came to light on Monday morning after Eater NY published accounts from three of his former employees and a fellow chef who accused Batali of groping or inappropriately touching them. In the following days, additional former employees came forward with similar accusations, and a former employee of New York City’s Spotted Pig restaurant claimed to have witnessed Batali grope and kiss a woman who appeared to be unconscious.
Following the initial accusations, Batali released a statement apologizing for his actions, in which he takes “full responsibility” for the inappropriate behavior.
In the wake of the allegations, ABC has confirmed that they had fired Batali from his position as a co-host on “The Chew,” and the Food Network announced that plans for a “Molto Mario” reboot in 2018 has been put “on hold.”