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Mario Batali

Accused in Butt-Slapping Suit

Of Ignoring Sexual Misdeeds

12/22/2011 1:23 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF

Mario Batali's name has been dragged into a sexual harassment lawsuit in New York -- in which an ex-waiter claims the famous chef stood by for months ... while his fellow workers tortured him with butt slaps and masturbation stories.

Eugene Gibbons filed the suit in NY Supreme Court, claiming several co-workers ruthlessly harassed him while he worked at Batali's Babbo Restaurant in NYC -- co-owned by "MasterChef" judge Joe Bastianich.

According to the suit, Eugene's co-workers "smacked his buttocks on a weekly basis," repeatedly grabbed his genitals, and made crude sexual comments ... including one instance when an employee told Eugene he masturbated to Eugene's pictures after his wife went to sleep.

Eugene claims Batali and Bastianich were fully aware of the harassment -- but did nothing to stop it ...  the suit claims ... by their inaction the two chefs condoned the campaign of humiliation.

Eugene ultimately quit -- he's now suing his former co-workers and the restaurant for unspecified damages. Batali and Bastianich were not named as defendants. Calls to Mario and the restaurant were not returned.


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What a loser. It is called ball busting. If he didn't like it he should have decked the guy. Wahhhhh

1004 days ago


This is a lie. Even the little Asian girl on House defended hersel****ainst butt slapping. Surely this gay guy would too.

1004 days ago


This guy whether innocent or guilty creeps me out!!

1004 days ago


Mostly anyone, including myself, that has worked in food service in any form has experienced sexual harassment from coworkers. Complaints or concerns do end up being moot most of the time unless something serious happens where there is proof that it could be dangerous. Otherwise, it's a grey area and you're expected to deal with it even if it annoys or makes you uncomfortable. Unfair? Yes. But it's yet another irritating thing you kinda set yourself up for with those jobs.

1004 days ago


Most people can't handle working in a restaurant because it's extremely stressful. The people that CAN become like family members and so you tease each other mercifully. That includes sexually derogatory comments and touchy feely grabs. If you don't like it, move on and find a PC place to work. (btw I was constantly grabbed by gay co-workers. No big deal. I did it back.)

1004 days ago


If every restaurant worker sued for stuff like this, there would be exactly zero restaurants left.... He's too thinned skin for that line of work. Get over it Nancy..

1004 days ago


If Mario and Joe are not named in a lawsuit, they aren't being accused of anything. and how did they "stand around and do nothing" when they are rarely, if ever, actually AT Babbo anymore?

1004 days ago


I HATE opportunistic Americans who only know how to sue and make money off the media/or to sue. Why not go to the police on the spot. OR quit your job? Pathetic loser who sure had the strength to sue but not set a boundary? Shameful

1004 days ago


Sounds like a high spirited fun place to work!
I haven't seen Eugene, but he turns me on too. And my wife is asleep. Gotta go.

1004 days ago

JugEars McKenyan Sr..    

".. including one instance when an employee told Eugene he masturbated to Eugene's pictures after his wife went to sleep." ANY "CO WORKER" man told ME that, they'd take him away on a stretcher DOA.

1004 days ago


I'm sorry. Has this guy never worked in a restaurant before?

1003 days ago


anyone who's read myriad books about restaurants, waitering, or cooking knows it's a world where this sort of behavior - minus the touching - is common. not that it's pleasant, but all the guy had to do was leave... I've been harassed in another context, so i'm not saying it's the cure-all to walk away, but the guy is indicting an entire industry's behavior, and it's unlikely that will change anytime soon.

1003 days ago


FFS. Has this person never worked in the restaurant industry? Slaps on the butt, masturbation stories, yo mama jokes and the occasion dry hump are the norm and signs you are accepted. It's when they treat you politely that you have to start worrying about. Try reading Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential and see how really effed up it can get. Grow up people!

1003 days ago


OMG...if this were the NFL or NBA everybody would be in trouble....Lighten up america! LOL

1003 days ago


That guy has a beef..! a beef wellington, that is! WTF. Puhleze, no one feels sorry for you for not reporting it sooner. wah-wah-wahhhh

1003 days ago
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