Forget about #OccupyPerSe, the meme of the moment—at least amongst the banker set—seems to be more like #VacateBabbo. After Batali reportedly made a statement disparaging bankers (Forbes headline: "Celebrity Chef Mario Batali Says Bankers As Bad As Hitler, Stalin"), the 1% turned to Twitter (and told friends in the media) to announce that they would be taking their expense accounts elsewhere. As one credit trader told Bloomberg's Ryan Sutton, "I spent $4,000 on a white truffle dinner on Monday at Babbo. This is shitty. I feel used."
So what exactly did Batali say? According to Forbes (which points out the whole thing is on tape) Batali said this:
I would have to say that who has had the largest effect on the whole planet without us really paying attention across the board and everywhere is the entire banking industry and their disregard for the people that are supposed to be working for them [sic]….So the ways the bankers have kind of toppled the way money is distributed and taken most of it into their hands is as good as Stalin or Hitler and the evil guys…[T]heir evil has had a huge effect on the world.
Batali also reportedly took shots at the protesters occupying Wall Street ("It’s kind of a part-time job," he said. "Those guys in Zucotti Park, they’re kind of just sitting around. It’s a very 2011 rebellion.") and this morning tweeted that the whole thing was misquoted anyway. "#shameonforbes," he wrote.
Still, there is one big upside if bankers actually do (and we doubt they will) start taking their business away from Batali's restaurants: lots of open tables. We've always wanted to eat at Babbo!