Former Westchester restaurateur and celebrity chef Mario Batali pleaded not guilty to charges that he allegedly groped and forcibly kissed a woman at a Boston restaurant.
Batali, 58, the former owner of the popular Tarry Market in Port Chester and Tarry Lodge in Westport, Connecticut, issued his plea early Friday, May 24, in Boston Municipal Court, wearing Adidas Yeezy sneakers, instead of his famous orange Crocs, said NBC News.
The charges were filed after his accuser, Natali Tene, said she was with a friend in 2017 at the now-closed Towne Stove and Spirits when she noticed the chef sitting near her.
She claims, in an incident report, that when she took a selfie over her shoulder, the famous chef motioned for her to come over and take a photo with him. She claims that when she was close enough to Batali to take the photo he put his arm around her and grabbed her breast, then grabbed her buttocks and pulled her in close, NBC News reported.
The chef then allegedly touched her groin over clothing and "held her face," as he kissed her cheek and mouth.
Tene has also filed a civil lawsuit, which claims that the former TV show host's actions were "dehumanizing" and "humiliating," said NBC.
In March, the chef, announced along with former his former partners, Joe Bastianich and his sister, Tanya Bastianich Manuali, that Batali "was full divested from our businesses."
Batali was fired from ABC's "The Chew" in December 2017 when allegations of sexual harassment began to surface.
He is scheduled to appear in court next on July 12.
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