UPDATED, 8:10 AM: Celebrity chef Mario Batali pleaded not guilty Friday to an indecent assault and battery charge stemming from an alleged 2017 incident in Boston.
Batali was released on his own recognizance and was ordered to stay away from the alleged victim unless he is called for a deposition in her civil lawsuit against him.
PREVIOUS, May 23, 9:41 AM: Former The Chew star Mario Batali is facing a criminal assault charge over a 2017 incident in which he allegedly groped and forcibly kissed a woman at a restaurant in Boston. It marks the first criminal charge for the disgraced once-popular chef amid a number of sexual assault and harassment allegations. He will be arraigned Friday.
Batali, who also appeared on Iron Chef America, already has been sued in civil court over the incident, and Suffolk County DA Rachael Rollins said he now faces a charge of indecent assault and battery in the case.
Natali Tene alleges that Batali groped her in April 2017 after suggesting a selfie series. He allegedly rubbed her breasts, grabbed her backside, put his hands between her legs and kept squeezing her face into his as he kissed her. She filed a civil lawsuit less than a year ago that claims emotional distress, anxiety and self-doubt on the plaintiff’s part.
At least seven women have accused Batali of alleged inappropriate touching in public, causing him to lose his television jobs. He was fired from ABC’s The Chew in December 2017 as Hollywood’s sexual harassment and assault scandals exploded and also has seen his Las Vegas restaurants shutter and restaurant group partnerships end.