Eataly is under fire in Chicago for what some are calling a tone-deaf series of holiday ads that were posted in the windows of its Italian mega-market and food hall. The campaign came in the wake of the sexual misconduct claims against Mario Batali, as first reported by Eater New York. One poster came with the text “BRING HOME AN ITALIAN. GREAT LEGS, BETTER BODY.” A series of internal emails, obtained by the Tribune, showed that Eataly’s PR team instructed employees to take no actions to address the complaints — a customer emailed the company and failed to receive a response.
The complaints extended to more than Batali. The Tribune talked with Italian-Americans who objected to the implications in another ad the read: “Bring home an Italian worth the smell.” The post came with a photo of truffles. The offended groups complained that the poster implied that Italians smelled bad.
Eataly — which has locations in Boston, Chicago, LA, two in New York, and many overseas — distanced itself from Batali after the allegations surfaced last month. Batali is a minority stakeholder in the company.