Mario Batali apologizes for groping women with a comforting cinnamon roll recipe

I thought I’d seen everything in sexual harassment apologies . . . until I saw one from celebrity chef Mario Batali that actually came with a recipe.

Last week the Washington Post published an article about Batali that included a slew of documented instances of the chef making lewd suggestions to employees and others, and groping women, usually while drunk.

Batali issued the usual pro-forma apology quote in the Post article.

I apologize profoundly to the people I have mistreated and hurt. The entire day of events surrounding the party I was the personification of idiocy, a drunken and idiotic fool, with no respect for the staff at Osteria Mozza, the guests nor for the restaurant itself.  That behavior was horribly wrong, shameful and degrading and there are no excuses. I wish I could have the day back and do it right. I take full responsibility for my deplorable actions and am deeply sorry for any pain, humiliation or anguish I caused.

Regrettably, there are so many accusations and apologies these days that this is hardly worth noting. Batali lost his gigs with ABC and the Food Network and is no longer welcome at his own restaurant chain.

Please have delicious pizza dough cinnamon rolls — you’ll feel better immediately

What was notable, however, was the email newsletter that Batali sent around to followers recently. Here’s the text:

I have made many mistakes and I am so very sorry that I have disappointed my friends, my family, my fans and my team. My behavior was wrong and there are no excuses. I take full responsibility.

Sharing the joys of Italian food, tradition and hospitality with all of you, each week, is an honor and privilege. Without the support of all of you — my fans — I would never have a forum in which to expound on this.

I will work every day to regain your respect and trust.


ps. in case you’re searching for a holiday-inspired breakfast, these Pizza Dough Cinnamon Rolls are a fan favorite.

Then there’s a button linking to the recipe (it’s here, in case this apology has made you hungry.)

Regrettably, I can’t find the subject line of this email published anywhere — I’m really curious how it looks in your mailbox.

How stupid can you be?

When it comes to apologies, I’ve described the obvious lessons: apologize directly to the people you hurt, say “I’m sorry,” describe what you did, describe steps you are taking to compensate and improve.

The rule that Batali broke is so obvious that you wouldn’t think it needs stating, but here you go:

Don’t include any of your usual content marketing or other extraneous material in your apology. You know, like recipes. Your apology is about what you did wrong, who you hurt, and how you are fixing it, and nothing else.

Because no, in cases of sexual misconduct, good food does not make everything alright.

I have to go now. That damn photo is making me hungry.

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  1. That is so insulting to all the women he abused! “I’m sorry, but here’s some food that is bound to make you feel better.”

    It implies that food is a comfort that will heal all wounds. While this is certainly true for many types of wounds, it is incredibly insensitive and arrogant to presume you could suggest this in your apology letter. It also implies that women belong in a kitchen and shouldn’t worry about anything else–least of all being abused or taken seriously after you report the abuse.

    Why don’t these men get the right help they need when forming their apology letters? They obviously are oblivious on many levels.