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Spotted Pig Restaurateur Accused of Sexual Harassment Reportedly Had VIP 'Rape Room'

Spotted Pig Restaurateur Accused of Sexual Harassment Reportedly Had VIP 'Rape Room'”

Allegations of sexual harassment have been directed at another restaurant industry powerhouse as the result of an extensive investigation.

One of the owners of several high-profile NY restaurants is taking a leave of absence after being accused of sexual misconduct by several women who worked for him.

Former staff at The Spotted Pig restaurant in Manhattan are among 10 women who allege the eatery's co-owner Ken Friedman sexually harassed employees-in a pattern that prompted staff to call the restaurant's V.I.P area the "rape room". Batali was also one of a handful of celebrity investors, including Jay-Z and Michael Stipe, when The Spotted Pig opened in 2004, The New York Times noted.

Friedman apologized in The Times story and has been removed from management operations of the restaurants. I own my behavior which can accurately be described at times as abrasive, rude and frankly wrong.

In statement to the newspaper, Friedman said, "Some incidents were not as described, but context and content are not today's discussion".

Friedman, who launched five restaurants in New York City, including the internationally renowned The Spotted Pig, as well as several others in Los Angeles and San Francisco, has been accused of behavior including groping and demanding sex and nude photographs from women employed at his restaurants, the Times found.

Employees believe Friedman was basically able to continue unchallenged for years given the restauranteur's good-natured playfulness and generosity (pay off) which made it possible for them to ignore the fear, chaos and power imbalance in the relationship.

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Days later, Nelson quit and was scared to tell anyone what happened. "But there is a difference between fun and sexualized camaraderie and predation", she told the Times. "We are not people who can live in cubicles", said Carla Rza Betts, 39, who was wine director at the Spotted Pig, and the Breslin and the John Dory, two of Friedman's other restaurants, from 2009 until 2013.

"I told him I felt like a battered wife", she said.

The Times spoke with multiple former employees who described the restaurateur's behavior. The Times also reported that employees said they "regularly experienced or witnessed sexual aggression" by Chef Mario Batali there.

After the Times article appeared on Tuesday, Friedman's company announced that he was taking an indefinite leave of absence.

Batali "tried to touch my breasts and told me that they were lovely", a server told the Times. "Nonetheless, I feel we have let down our employees, and for that, I sincerely apologize".

Seet claimed that she saw Batali on a security camera groping and kissing an apparently unconscious woman at a 2008 party.

The workers said after hours, Friedman brought celebrity guests and buddies upstairs to a third-floor room - where nudity reigned, public sex occurred, where he and patrons groped the help. Mr. Friedman has treated favored employees to after-work drinks, field trips to his beach house and top-tier concert tickets'.

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