The day after an Eater investigation compelled Mario Batali to step down from day-to-day business operations at his 24-restaurant empire under a cloud of sexual impropriety, the New York Times published a report pooling the complaints of 10 women—mostly former employees—against Ken Friedman, the owner of The Spotted Pig who has won Michelin stars and just last year was awarded outstanding restaurateur of the year by the James Beard Foundation. The Spotted Pig was also the launchpad for April Bloomfield, one of the most famous female chefs in the country. Friedman's company announced today that Friedman is taking “an indefinite leave of absence,” effective immediately.
Among the disturbing episodes laid out by the Times, Friedman allegedly shoved a female employee's face into his crotch in front of Amy Poehler in 2007, forced his tongue down another female employee’s throat and bit a bar manager on the waist. Friedman, who is married to a former Spotted Pig hostess, issued an apology that also claimed “some incidents were not as described.” One of the women told the Times that she didn't speak up at the time because “Ken bragged about blacklisting people all the time. And we saw it happen.”
The restaurant industry is far from toppling its last domino in the wake of the seismic cultural shift in sexual assault awareness epitomized by the hashtag #metoo. So far, the newfound freedom of shattered silence that has rocked all corners of the culture—in Hollywood, in Washington and in establishment art circles in New York—has effectively ended the careers of Charlie Rose, Louis C.K., Kevin Spacey, Russell Simmons, Mario Batali, Matt Lauer, top officials at WNYC and NPR, longtime maestros at the Metropolitan Opera and New York City Ballet, a major writer at the prestigious New Yorker magazine, and three sitting members of Congress (just to name a few).
What fresh hell awaits us in tomorrow's news?