Fighting Words: McNally Says Bruni Is Being ‘Silly,’ Bastianich Calls Lawsuit ‘Bullshit’

Photo: Courtesy of Fox

Though Mario Batali still hasn’t spoken up about the lawsuit brought by former Babbo workers, his partner Joe Bastianich has finally told Eater that he thinks the case is “bullshit”: “I would love to come back with a ruling from a judge and have them throw it out,” he says, and is also quoted as saying, “We’re going to fight this to every inch of the law, because we know we’re right. We’re not going to let them shake us down for a quick settlement. We’ll fight this to the end.” Also today, Keith McNally responded to Frank Bruni calling him a “horrible man” in an e-mail that began, “I’m not sure whether being called ‘a horrible man’ by the person who wrote an entire book in praise of George W. Bush (Ambling Into History) is necessarily a bad thing.”

The e-mail went on to wonder how “Frank Bruni — a man of limited, but undeniable intelligence — can call someone ‘a horrible man’ when they’ve never spent any time with him,” and speculated that it was because “little Frankie” is “in the process of selling a book” and is “desperate for attention.” Finally, he points out that, contrary to his assertions, Bruni does indeed still dine at his restaurants (though in the most recent instance, Dana Cowin picked the spot). Bruni declined to tell us why, exactly, he made the comment in the first place, but turning to his book, we can assume it’s in part because of the time McNally “publicly attributed my one-star rating of Morandi, an Italian restaurant he opened in Greenwich Village, to its employment of a female chef and to my clear sexism.” McNally’s words for Adam Platt probably didn’t endear him to the former Times reviewer, either.

Keith McNally: Bruni Just Desperate for Attention [Eater NY]
Bastianich: We Will Not Be Shaken Down by Former Workers [Eater NY]

Fighting Words: McNally Says Bruni Is Being ‘Silly,’ Bastianich