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Eataly, the vast Italian food wonderland with locations all over the world, pulled products bearing Mario Batali's likeness — including books, sauces, pastas, olive oils, and vinegars — from its shelves today. A company spokesperson confirmed to Eater that "this move is consistent with Mario Batali not being actively involved with Eataly." Four women have come forward to accuse Batali of sexual harassment according to an Eater NY report that details the experiences in detail.
Batali was, to many people, a physical embodiment of Eataly. He attended and promoted each new Eataly opening, and up until this week there was a page on Eataly's website promoting Batali's products: "Find all the best of Italy selected for you by Mario Batali: all the best authentic Italian products selected by the chef himself. Only at eataly.com!"
In light of the harassment stories, Batali has stepped away from his businesses, and other business interests currently hang in the balance as sponsors, purveyors, partners, and producers weigh his image and involvement in everything from his licensing deals to television appearances. ABC's the Chew asked the chef to step away from the show; the Food Network put its planned revamp of Molto Mario on hold.
Restaurants co-owned by Mario Batali in New York City, including Lupa, Otto, and Babbo, also took his products off their shelves, according to Eater NY.
According to a spokesperson for Joe Bastianich, one of Batali's business partners in Eataly, the company is reviewing the chef's involvement and interests and will determine "what's best for the company." Lidia Bastianich, Joe's mother, is also a face and owner of Eataly. Her products have filled the shelf space left empty by Batali's.
The first American Eataly location opened in New York City's Flatiron neighborhood in 2010; there are now two locations in Manhattan as well as one in Chicago, one in Boston, and a new location in Los Angeles. This year, Eataly opened a massive food theme park in Bologna, Italy. Earlier this week, the company announced plans to file for an IPO on the Italian Stock Exchange.