Rachael Ray Defends Batali, Says ‘Hitler’ Was Meant With Love

For what it's worth, she's got his back.

Over at the Stand Up for Heroes event, Grub Street asked Rachael Ray — and a few of her famous pals — how she felt about the scandal surrounding Mario Batali (who non-heroically compared bankers to Hitler and Stalin). Unlike many of Batali's patrons, Ray-Ray says she would never, ever turn her back on him. Nor would Ali Wentworth. But Geraldo? He's not cool with this.

Referring to him as "the most loving human being I have ever met," Rachael Ray tells Grub Street that even with all this drama, Mario always means well. "The intent behind it is always love and/or food and usually both," she says. As far as the boycotting, Ray calls the bankers' bluff, "I don’t think anyone is going to seriously stop eating Mario’s food as long as Mario is still cooking it and serving it. His food is made with love."

Ali Wentworth also told us that "he didn't mean it that way," and that nothing could keep her from his kitchen: "I like his food too much. I’ll never boycott his food."

Less forgiving was Geraldo Rivera, who, like many people, believes that Molto's cavalier Hitler-ing was simply unacceptable, "You cannot use the Holocaust as a causal, pop-cultural reference. You cannot."

Related: Batali Says Sorry For Hitler Reference, As Anger Continues to Flare