Consumers call for boycott of Mario Batali product after sexual assault admission

Target has listened to consumers and stopped selling Mario Batali product online after he admitted sexually assaulting coworkers. Batali stepped away from his business, which includes Westfield Century City's new Eataly.


Westfield Century City was counting on Eataly to draw more consumers to the retail destination - Eataly

A Care2 petition asked for 10,000 signatures to call upon Target CEO Brian Cornell to stop selling all Batali product including cookbooks and sauces. The petition currently has over 7,500 signatures and continues to grow by the minute indicating consumers are not willing to let Batali's admissions go unpunished. Target has already removed all Batali product from its online site.

Kelsey Bourgeois, the consumer who created the petition wrote, "Our reaction must be firm: We won't support someone who abuses their power in this way."

The implications of Batali's admissions for retail could be large. Less than two months after opening Eataly, Westfield Century City has no choice but to cautiously proceed with a 60,000-square-foot blemish on its newly revitalized image. The mall was counting on seeing increased traffic to Batali's Eataly as it was the first West Coast location of the cult foodie destination.

Batali was the face of the Eataly brand and personally appeared at all openings to promote the chain. As Westfield Century City built out a new lifestyle model of premium retail, it was looking to Eataly and Batali's celebrity to draw consumers to the location.

Batali has since stepped away from all operations of his businesses which include over 20 restaurants and 5 Eataly locations in the US: in LA, Boston, Chicago and two in NYC. Eataly has currently pulled all Batali branded product in an effort to determine "what's best for the company."

While it is a huge tourist destination, time will tell whether consumers will be able to separate the brand from Batali himself, or whether the chain will have to rebrand and distance itself from the chef.

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