Mario Batali sexual misconduct accuser goes public in new documentary

·3 min read

A woman who has accused celebrity chef Mario Batali of sexual misconduct anonymously has now gone on the record in a newly released Discovery+ documentary.

"Batali: The Fall of a Superstar Chef" premiered on the streaming service on Thursday. In the documentary, a former hostess at one of Batali’s restaurants, Eva DeVirgilis, accuses the chef of sexually assaulting her in 2005.

According to the documentary, DeVirgilis previously told a part of her story anonymously on an episode of "60 Minutes," but has not gone on the record with her allegations before.

The New York Times reported that DeVirgilis was one of more than 20 former employees at Batali’s restaurants who was awarded a $600,000 settlement for claims of sexual misconduct in 2021.


In the documentary, DeVirgilis details that Batali invited her to a well-known restaurant, The Spotted Pig, in June 2005 after work. She shared that the chef picked her up after work in a limo that took them to the restaurant. Upon their arrival, a candlelit table was set for two and "the wine kept pouring."

"I was like, ‘OK, well, I’m getting very tipsy, I’m feeling tipsy, I need to go home, I have to open the restaurant in the morning.’ He was like, ‘F-k the restaurant, f-k work, I’m the boss,’ and everyone was like, ‘Yay!'" she recalled.

DeVirgilis said that shortly after, she blacked out. "And then I have a moment of flash where I’m being kissed by him, very like hard, and then I have another flash where I’m throwing up in a toilet, I sense that he’s behind me and then there was nothing," she said in the documentary.


She recalled waking up on a hardwood floor and thought she could have been drugged. "I’m not the type of person that throws up. I don’t black out," DeVirgilis added.

"I went to the bathroom and I saw there were deep scratches on the inside of my legs. And I saw on the back of the skirt, it looked like something, it looked like semen. And when I saw that, I was terrified," she said.

Batali was previously found not guilty in a sexual assault trial in May in Boston. <span class="copyright">REUTERS/Brendan McDermid - GM1DSLTNCYAA</span>
Batali was previously found not guilty in a sexual assault trial in May in Boston. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid - GM1DSLTNCYAA

DeVirgilis said she went to New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital where she had a rape kit exam completed. She asked for a drug test but was told that since the assault happened the night before, any possible drugs were likely not in her system, DeVirgilis detailed in the documentary.

She decided not to file a police report. "I was afraid of him, I was afraid of never working in this city, I didn’t want to file a report," she said.


Later, she added: "I wish I had [filed a report], but I wasn’t ready and I didn’t have the resources and I just…I wasn’t, it’s too scary. It’s still scary. It’s scary now."

Batali was found not guilty in a sexual assault trial in May in Boston. He also settled two lawsuits in August. In 2019, the New York Police Department closed two cases of sexual misconduct against the celebrity chef.

He was first accused of sexual misconduct in December 2017. The following the accusation, Batali issued a statement through his newsletter which read: "My behavior was wrong and there are no excuses." He added, "I take full responsibility." Batali ended the letter saying he would "work every day to regain your respect and trust."

However, the chef was not finished. Batali added at the end: "In case you’re searching for a holiday-inspired breakfast, these Pizza Dough Cinnamon Rolls are a fan favorite."

A picture of the rolls and a link to the recipe were also included.