Entertainment

Accuser goes public for the first time – The Hollywood Reporter

A woman who previously anonymously accused celebrity chef Mario Batali of sexual misconduct has been documented for the first time in an upcoming Discovery+ documentary.

In Batali: The Fall of a Superstar Chef, debuting on the streaming platform on Thursday, a former employee of one of Batali’s restaurants, Eva DeVirgilis, accuses Batali of sexually assaulting her in 2005 after taking her to a business he invested, The Spotted Pig. According to the documentary, DeVirgilis – a former hostess at Babbo restaurant in the West Village – previously told some of her stories anonymously to Anderson Cooper on 60 minutes but did not tell the story on the previous record.

The New York Timesled a story on DeVirgilis’ claims on Wednesday, which reported that DeVirgilis was one of more than 20 former employees at Batali’s restaurant and co-worker Joe Bastianich, who was awarded a $600,000 settlement for harassment allegations sexual harassment in New York in 2021.

The Hollywood Reporter has contacted Batali’s attorney for comment.

In the documentary, directed by Singeli Agnew (who has directed episodes of Weekly), DeVirgilis said, one night in June 2005, she accepted Batali’s invitation to go to the famous spot The Spotted Pig after work. She said Batali picked her up in a limo after her shift ended, and when she got to the restaurant, they were seated at a candlelit table for two and “the wine kept pouring out.” “. DeVirgilis recalls, “I said, ‘Okay, I’m getting really drunk, I’m feeling a bit drunk, I need to go home, I have to open a restaurant in the morning.’ He’s like, “Fuck the restaurant, damn job, I’m the boss,” and everyone is like, “Yay!”

According to DeVirgilis, she went missing not long after that. “And then I had a flash where I was kissed by him, enjoyed, and then I had another moment where I was thrown into the toilet, I felt that he was behind me. and then nothing,” she said in the documentary. She recalls waking up on a hardwood floor wondering if she was drugged because “I’m not the type to throw stones. I don’t black out”. She added, “I went to the bathroom and I saw deep scratches on the inside of my legs. And I see on the back of the skirt, it’s like something, it’s like semen. And when I saw that, I was extremely scared.”

DeVirgilis said she went to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, where she completed a rape kit test. She said she asked if she could be tested for drugs, but was told that since the incident happened the night before, any potential drugs could have passed through the system. hers. She said that she ultimately decided not to report it to the police. “I’m afraid of him, I’m afraid of never working in this city, I don’t want to file a report,” she said. (Jane Manning, director of the Women’s Equal Justice Project and former sex crime prosecutor, notes in the documentary that at this point in New York City, rape kits are not handled unless the police investigate the incident.)

Then DeVirgilis added, “I wish I had [filed a report], but I’m not ready and I don’t have the resources and I just… I haven’t, it’s too scary. It’s still scary. It’s scary now.”

The New York Timeswho interviewed DeVirgilis for their story, said she would not comment on whether she went to police about the incident.

Batali was found not guilty of sexual assault in a Boston court in May and settled two lawsuits, including one related to claims that went to trial, in August. . Meanwhile, the 2021 New York deal comes after an investigation by the state Attorney General’s office Letitia James found that “B&B [management company B&B Hospitality], Batali, and Bastianich engaged in reprisal and illegal sexism in violation of state and city human rights laws,” James’ office said at the time. In 2019, the New York Police Department closed two investigations into allegations of sexual misconduct against Batali, with one official telling CNN it was unable to find a possible cause in the cases. case and one outside the statute of limitations.

Batali was first accused of sexual misconduct in a December 2017 story in Eater magazine. He then issued an apology saying, “My behavior was wrong and there is no excuse”. Batali added, “I take full responsibility,” and included a link to the cinnamon roll pizza at the bottom of the note.

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