Several women have come forward to accuse Mario Batali, star of ABC’s “The Chew” and owner of a restaurant empire, of sexual misconduct.  Batali did not deny the allegations and has taken leave from the television show and his businesses.  The allegations were first reported on the website

In a statement, Batali apologized and admitted wrongdoing.  “Although the identities of most of the individuals mentioned in these stories have not been revealed to me, much of the behavior described does, in fact, match up with ways I have acted,” Batali said.  “I apologize to the people I have mistreated and hurt.  That behavior was wrong and there are no excuses. I take full responsibility and am deeply sorry for any pain, humiliation or discomfort I have caused to my peers, employees, customers, friends and family.”

The restaurant industry, according to this new investigation from the Associated Press, has long been a haven for sexual misconduct.

“Court documents and interviews with the women and experts on the topic show hospitality industry workers are routinely subjected to sexual abuse and harassment from bosses, co-workers and customers that are largely unchecked.”

And many women don’t fight back because they’re immigrants and fear losing their jobs.  Another report by Hart Research found 40% of women in the fast food industry have experienced “unwanted sexual behaviors” on the job, two in five women working in fast food restaurants have been subjected to sexual harassment on the job and many of them report serious negative health and professional consequences as a result.