Former employees of The Spotted Pig awarded $240K settlement after unwanted sexual advances

GREENWICH VILLAGE, Manhattan (WABC) -- The New York Attorney General awarded money and a profit-sharing deal to women who claimed they were victims of unwanted sexual advances by the owner of The Spotted Pig restaurant in NYC.

The former employees say Tuesday's settlement marks the end to a painful chapter in their lives that they say played out at the restaurant at the hands of former owner Ken Friedman.

"We deserve just as much as anyone to be respected and treated like human beings especially when we are in our places of work," former employee Trish Nelson said.

The former employees of the once-trendy hot spot joined AG Letitia James whose office found that Friedman subjected female workers to severe and pervasive incidents of unwanted touching and sexual advances for years.

"We chalked it up to the craziness and the wildness of the industry, but it was really unstable," former employee Becky Wisdom said.

Now Friedman must pay 11 women a total of $240,000 and a share of his profits.

But that's not all.

Disgraced celebrity chef Mario Batali was an investor and regular at the restaurant. He was accused of sexually assaulting several women but a lack of evidence meant no arrest.

Even though Batali was not part of this investigation, James says her work isn't done.

"We have received credible information about his alleged actions and are therefore separately looking into him, his business partner, his management company and his three restaurants," James said.

"I hope the ripple effect throughout our industry and others is that people stop getting sexually assaulted and sexually harassed in the workplace by people in positions of power, it's really that simple," former employee Jamie Seet said.

Friedman released the following statement about the settlement:

I have been largely silent since offering a public apology in December, 2017. Some people believed that silence represented a lack of contrition and remorse for my actions. That could not be further from the truth.

I have taken this time to listen to women, who have previously been afraid to speak. It continues to be a time for them to talk, and me to learn. By far the most transformational part of this time of reflection was becoming a parent. In July of 2018, I was blessed with the birth of my first child, an experience that redefined the rest of my life.

I'm sorry for the harm I have caused, and for being part of an environment where women were afraid to speak up. I will spend the rest of my life regretting my actions, and trying to be someone worthy of the respect and love of my family.

Today we settled the investigation conducted by the Attorney General's office. Although I stepped away from The Spotted Pig some time ago, I am also formally relinquishing my role in management and operations.

While I am aware that nothing will completely repair the damage I've caused, and although I disagree with several of the allegations, I hope this agreement will bring some comfort to those former employees impacted by my behavior. And I hope we are all able to put this painful chapter behind us.

My time at the Spotted Pig is over, but the learning process is not, and I will continue to experience the consequences of my actions. Leaving the restaurant I built 16 years ago is just one of those many consequences.


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