Restaurant Sues Food Critic For Bad Review — And Wins!
Apparently, in Australia, you can get sued for things like doing your perfectly legal job. Sydney Morning Herald restaurant critic Matthew Evans gave a resto by the name of Coco Roco (not to be confused with the Arcade Fire song or the freak folk band) a disparaging review for such abominations as limoncello oysters (excuse us?). Six months later, Coco Roco’s doors closed due to their tanked business. Evidently, their biggest beef lay with the fact that Evans failed to distinguish in his review that Coco and Roco were actually two separate eateries (Coco, the upscale, limoncello oyster-slinging joint, and Roco, the casual sister-bistro), both of which the single bad review shut down.
Evans also awarded them an unfortunate 9 out of 20 stars, which, on the Sydney Morning Herald scale, earned the resto a “Stay Home” distinction. So, natch, they filed a defamation suit. Unfortunately, the Aussies have super strict anti-defamation laws, so the precedent for cases like this has already been set. For calling the restaurant “a bleak spot on the culinary landscape,” and making observations like “the texture is scary” and “flavours jangle like a car crash,” John Fairfax Publications, owners of the Herald, were successfully sued, and now might have to pay the restaurant its claimed per capita damages of $80,000.
Memo to Gordon Ramsay, Jay Rayner, and the rest of our favorite salty Brits: don’t ever write for an Australian publication.