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Owner of NY cafe loved by celebs allegedly ‘spanked’ workers with parsley, ‘groped’ them, suit claims

For the last decade, celebs and tourists have flocked to Marie Eiffel’s eponymous French market on Shelter Island for croissants, baguettes and Marseille-style bouillabaisse.

Charlotte Gainsbourg and Jessica Chastain visited, and Christy Brinkley raved about it on social media after enjoying tarte tatin and pommes frites al fresco in 2020.

But, now, former employees are alleging some very unsavory behavior from Eiffel.

Eight workers — six women and two men — are suing the 63-year-old Paris native for sexual assault and harassment

The plaintiffs are foreigners from Malaysia, Thailand, Colombia who worked for Eiffel seasonally for four months in 2021 and 2022

They are suing not only Eiffel, but also the New York-based company InterExchange, which sponsored them to work in the US, and, they say, did not act on their claims of abuse.

“Instead of providing the advertised once-in-a-lifetime experience, [Eiffel and InterExchange] subjected [the workers] to the horror of Marie Eiffel,” attorneys wrote in the complaint, which was filed last Friday in Southern District Court in Manhattan. A statement provided by the legal team alleged that InterExchange was “complicit in trafficking the Plaintiffs to be subjected to Marie’s sexual and physical abuse, discrimination and wage theft.”

The suit claims Eiffel “routinely spanked [employees] on the buttocks, groped female employees’ breasts, choked employees and made sexually harassing, demeaning discriminatory comments about their race.”

The filing also alleges she kissed employees and that one worker’s arm was bruised after Eiffel pulled them in the kitchen.

A post shared by Marie Eiffel (@marieeiffel)

“Marie acted as though she believed that such egregious behavior was funny. On at least one occasion, Marie ordered an employee to record her spanking an employee on the buttocks with a bunch of parsley while she laughed at the camera,” the suit claims, including alleged photo evidence that appears to show Eiffel spanking someone with parsley.

Michael Del Piano, a partner at the law firm that filed the lawsuit — Lewis, Johs, Avallone, LLP — said Eiffel’s actions weren’t limited to a few isolated incidents.

“She engaged in a sustained campaign of egregious and exploitative behavior,” he told The Post of Eiffel’s alleged inappropriate behavior. “She preyed on vulnerable people who simply wanted to work and grow as individuals.”

Michael Del Piano, a partner at the law firm that filed the lawsuit — Lewis, Johs, Avallone, LLP — said Eiffel’s actions weren’t limited to a few isolated incidents.

.he suit also accuses Eiffel of withholding cash tips left at the register for employees as well as debit and credit card tips.

Eiffel and InterExchange did not respond to The Post’s request for comment at press time.

On Tuesday, Eiffel denied all allegations to the Shelter Island Reporter

She told the outlet that she had not yet been served the lawsuit, but after learning of claims against her, she hired an attorney. It’s unclear how Eiffel heard about the suit.

The employees, according to the suit, paid recruiters from InterExchange more than $1,000 each to secure admission into the J-1 visa program and receive housing provided by Eiffel.

On its website, the bakery, which opened in 2013, is described as a “quaint New York hotspot frequented by celebrities and casual foodies.” Eiffel also operates shops in Greenport and Montauk.

She told the Shelter Island Reporter that the suit may be rooted in an interaction that she had with a disgruntled employee whom she alleged stole from her home. When she confronted him, she claims they had an altercation.

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