New York City bankers and investors have launched a boycott of restaurants owned by celebrity chef Mario Batali after he compared them to Adolph Hitler and Josef Stalin.
“So the ways the bankers have kind of toppled the way money is distributed and taken most of it into their hands is as good as Stalin or Hitler and the evil guys,” Batali said. “They’re not heroes, but they are people that had a really huge effect on the way the world is operating.”
The comments were first made public on Forbes.com – taken directly from a transcript provided by Time.
Bloomberg and Business Insider reported that furious bankers and investors began cancelling reservations to many of Batali’s restaurants, including his famed Italian eateries Babbo, Del Posto and Eataly.
“I’ve been to every one of his restaurants, but what [Batali] said was just out of line today,” broker Michael Misisco told the New York Post.
“I love his restaurants, but I’m done with Mario Batali, I will never eat at another of his places,” Arkansas businessman Blant Hurt told Bloomberg News. “He’s insulting a considerable number of his customers at the very time Wall Street is shrinking organically. It’ll be interesting to see where his businesses are in five years.”
Batali reportedly made his comments while expressing sympathy for the Occupy Wall Street protesters. The irony being that only the very wealthy can actually afford to dine at his high-priced spaghetti restaurants. At Babbo – a truffle-tasting menu will set you back $300.
Once the cancellations started piling up, Batali issued an apology through his spokeswoman.
“It was never my intention to equate our banking industry with Hitler and Stalin, two of the most evil, brutal dictators in modern history,” read a statement he released to the media.
It’s unclear if Wall Streeters have accepted his apology – or whether they’ll take their business to the Olive Garden.
However, the Anti-Defamation League did accept Batali’s apology.
The ADL released a statement Thursday afternoon stating:
“We hope that this will serve as a teachable moment for Mr. Batali and for others who have used similar analogies. Analogies to the Nazis and the Holocaust are becoming far too commonplace in our society, and decent people must speak out and condemn these statements as irresponsible and morally offensive.”