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Chef Mario Batali leaves 'The Chew' amid sexual harassment allegations

Chef Mario Batali is stepping down as co-host of ABC’s cooking and lifestyle show “The Chew” after being accused of sexually harassing and inappropriately touching women, USA Today reported.

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Multiple anonymous women alleged in a story by food-trade publication Eater New York that Batali had groped their breasts or buttocks, amid other allegations.

Batali apologized and pledged to try and “regain” the “respect and trust” of his fans, family and business associates.

“I apologize to the people I have mistreated and hurt,” Batali said. “Although the identities of most of the individuals mentioned in these stories have not been revealed to me, much of the behavior described does, in fact, match up with ways I have acted.

“That behavior was wrong and there are no excuses. I take full responsibility and am deeply sorry for any pain, humiliation or discomfort I have caused to my peers, employees, customers, friends and family.”

Batali & Bastianich Hospitality Group — which services about two dozen restaurants owned by Batali, Joe Bastianich and others — confirmed that Batali “will step away from the company's operations,” USA Today reported.

“We have asked Mario Batali to step away from ‘The Chew’ while we review the allegations that have just recently come to our attention,” ABC said in a statement. “ABC takes matters like this very seriously as we are committed to a safe work environment. While we are unaware of any type of inappropriate behavior involving him and anyone affiliated with the show, we will swiftly address any alleged violations of our standards of conduct.”

Batali has been one of four co-anchors of “The Chew” since its inception in 2011, Variety reported. He also recently signed a deal with Food Network to produce new episodes of his cooking series “Molto Mario” for the first time since 2005. Food Network had no comment on the status of that project, Variety reported.

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