ABC fires Batali, pulls 'Baking Show' amid harassment allegations

By Daniel Uria  |  Dec. 14, 2017 at 8:45 PM
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Dec. 14 (UPI) -- ABC fired celebrity chef Mario Batali and cut ties with The Great American Baking Show judge Johnny Iuzzini following accusations of sexual harassment against the two men.

Batali was fired from his role as host of ABC's The Chew after four women told Eater New York he touched them inappropriately during the past two decades.

"Upon completing its review into the allegations made against Mario Batali, ABC has terminated its relationship with him and he will no longer appear on The Chew," an ABC representative wrote on the show's Facebook page. "While we remain unaware of any type of inappropriate behavior involving him and anyone affiliated with our show, ABC takes matters like this very seriously as we are committed to a safe work environment and his past behavior violates our standards of conduct."

Batali, 57, issued an apology and didn't deny any of the allegations while stepping away from The Chew and the day-to-day operations of his restaurant empire.

ABC also cut ties with The Great American Baking Show judge Johnny Iuzzini and decided not to air the remaining episodes of the series after eight women accused him of sexual misconduct, including touching female employees' rear ends with items in the kitchen.

"In light of allegations that recently came to our attention, ABC has ended its relationship with Johnny Iuzzini and will not be airing the remainder of The Great American Baking Show episodes," an ABC representative said. "ABC takes matters such as those described in the allegations very seriously and has come to the conclusion that they violate our standards of conduct. This season's winner will be announced at a later date."

Iuzzini, 43, said the allegations are false and issued a statement saying he was upset at ABC's decision to pull the remaining episodes of The Great American Baking Show.

"While I understand ABC felt pressured to make this difficult decision, I am extremely disappointed and saddened that the show will not continue to air as scheduled," he said. "I feel terrible for the bakers, fans of the show, the cast and everyone else involved in the production. I stand by my apology for some unprofessional behavior 8-10 years ago, but the sexual harassment allegations and many other reports against me were sensationalized and simply not true."

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