After Mario Batali made the unfortunate misstep of comparing bankers to mass murderers Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin, irate members of the financial services industry are now uniting in a common goal: Boycott Batali-owned restaurants like "Babbo" and "Del Posto."
According to Forbes writer Jeff Bercovici, who first brought us the story, bankers are using the Twitter hashtag "#bataligate" to encourage and spread word of the boycott. In a kind of sad irony for Batali, bankers are perhaps among the few who can afford to dine at his ultra-pricey eateries.
Below is an example of the #bataligate tweets:
Eater and the Business Insider both report that bankers have been canceling reservations en masse, with one manager at a financial institution reportedly warning employees that receipts from Batali-owned eateries submitted on expense reports won’t be reimbursed. Sean Feeney, a trader and the author of the food blog Bite of the Apple, writes, “I’m not going to go to Babbo until [Batali] clarifies and/or apologizes for his words, and in fact this morning I canceled 5 reservations over the next month that I have.”
But Batali is claiming that his comments were taken out of context and that it was never his intention to equate the banking industry with Hitler and Stalin, who, in Batali's own words, are "two of the most evil, brutal dictators in modern history."
As you will see from Batali's Twitter profile featured below, the celebrity chef asserts that "Mr. B" -- a reference to Bercovici -- "deliberately misquoted" him.
The following recording of Batali’s response to Bercovici's questions might prove otherwise:
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/v/4FLKQ3A6q90?version=3&hl=en_US expand=1]
I’ve called and emailed Batali’s spokeswoman, Pamela Lewy, to inquire exactly what it is Batali thinks he said that was misquoted. I haven’t heard back. For the record, accusing me of misquoting him is false, and accusing me of doing it deliberately is, frankly, libelous. There are recordings of all of his remarks, and the only minor inaccuracy in any quote I attributed to him was the result of an error in the transcript supplied to me by Time.
The Forbes writer adds that he will soon release a full recording of the debate.