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Thursday, July 17, 2014

France Fines Diners for Maligning Fine Dining

Posted By on Thu, Jul 17, 2014 at 4:00 PM


We live in a world full of Yelp reviews to the effect of "I loved everything about this place, but there was no parking. One star." It's unhelpful and transparently ridiculous. On the opposite end, who hasn't cringed while reading a defensive restaurateur's words as they lash out in response to unhappy patrons? As a standalone comments section without actual content to comment on, Yelp can get ugly.

But as Esquire noted, in France it might also get you a defamation judgment. One Caroline Doudet got slapped with $2,000 in fines and damages for savaging a restaurant called Il Giardino (archived here, but au francais). Freedom of speech isn't quite so protected in most Western European nations, especially vis-a-vis privacy (which is why you can disappear yourself from Google searches there). Whether or not Doudet's write-up was true on the merits appears to be of less importance than the harms an undeleted review would cause a business. Similar legal scuffles are not unknown in the U.S., either, but it seems that multinational companies get even more litigious elsewhere, P.R. be damned. (Benihana sued a guy in Kuwait for disparaging them.)

Just something to think about the next time you think the world needs to hear all about your previous server's petty foibles.

[Via Esquire]

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Pete Kane

Pete Kane

Pete Kane is a total gaylord who is trying to get to every national park before age 40


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