There is no celebrity chef more adored by elites nationwide than Mario Batali. They particularly like the way he champions women’s rights and the rights of the poor. And so far, at least, they seem untroubled by revelations that he abuses both women and the poor. Maybe that’s because they still approve of the way he called out the pope five years ago.
Mario is back in the news, this time for sexual assault. On May 20, “60 Minutes” aired a piece noting that at least 11 women have accused him of sexual misconduct; a criminal investigation is underway. Last December, revelations of sexual assault hit the media, but it had no effect on his standing with elites.
One of the stories that broke five months ago involved an encounter that Mario had in 2010, the week of the Oscars. The dinner was held at one of his restaurants in Los Angeles, hosted by the publisher of Vanity Fair. Mario showed up late and was obviously smashed. He didn’t waste time sexually molesting the special events director.
Mario may like to abuse women but he loves to stand up for their rights. Not surprisingly, he is a big proponent of abortion rights (most abusers tend to be that way). Indeed, in 2013 he even donated $5,000 in an abortion telethon for women’s abortions.
Mario is also an advocate of two men marrying (those who are pro-abortion are almost always pro-gay marriage). That explains why he wasn’t too happy with Pope Francis, who, while visiting the U.S. in 2015, met with Kim Davis; she is the Kentucky County clerk who refused to issue a marriage license to gay couples. Mario blasted the pope for meeting with her.
Mario also loves the poor. The welfare of the poor, however, was not on Mario’s mind when he and his partner agreed to pay $5.25 million to settle their cash-skimming schemes at eight high-scale restaurants. They took 4-5 percent of the tips from employees, ripping off the busboys to pay for the sommeliers’ salaries. The money that was paid out was shared by 1,100 employees; many were forced to work more than 40 hours a week without making minimum wage.
If we knew the identity of the poor whom Mario stole from, we would probably learn that a good portion of them are illegal aliens. In all likelihood we would also learn of Mario’s public exhortations on behalf of the “undocumented.”
How different is Mario from most other high-flying liberal elites? From what we’ve learned over the past year, it appears he has plenty of company. But for right now, the top prize for hypocrisy goes to Mario Batali.