Restaurant Wins $600K After Suing Critic for Defamation

If you're going to slam a restaurant, make sure no one else gets hit with the schrapnel.

eatlove.com

The Braiser, eatlove.com

After an 11-year lawsuit against previous Sydney Morning Herald restaurant critic Matthew Evans, the owners of Coco Roco have been awarded damages of $600,000 (which includes more than ten years of interest) by the newspaper’s publisher, Fairfax Media.

Evans wrote the slanderous review back in 2003. In it, he described the restaurant as “a bleak spot on the culinary landscape” and gave it a score of nine out of 20. The takedown put restaurant owners Aleksandra Gacic, Ljiljana Gacic, and Branislav Ciric out of business six months later.

The critic’s costly error was failing “to clarify that Coco Roco was actually two restaurants,” Coco and Roco, reports Grub Street. The critic was only bashing the more upscale Coco.

This is definitely not the first time a restaurant has been slammed by a critic—but how often do media companies get sued because of negative reviews? Yelp (which isn’t a media company, but a user-generated review site) has been sued more than once for the turbulence that its reviewers unleash. Although, there are laws that protect sites like Yelp from being sued, but individual reviewers are still “legally responsible for what they write and lawsuits can be filed against them,” writes TIME. That is why Yelper Jane Perez was sued for $750,000 in a defamation trial by Christopher Dietz’s contractor company.

Evans retired from the role of critic in 2005, and moved to Tasmania.

[via Grub Street]

  • barry

    What a fucking totally MISLEADING article. You guys are really disgusting. You have no integrity, decency, honor, or professionalism. You are nothing but a HACK website. No where does it state in this article WHERE this took place, which I assume was Australia, since “Sidney” was written. Very DECEPTIVE headline. You should have made it clear this did NOT take place in America. At least not yet anyway. Give the Liberal parasites a few more years though, and it will be the same here in America. Liberals are fucking creating tyrants, Communists, and destroying America, our rights, and our freedoms in the process. Liberals are PURE scum, nothing but fucking maggots, cockroaches, parasites, and bile!!!!!!!!!!! What intolerant assholes!!! What B.S.

    Australia is exactly like Canada, England, France, Spain, Germany, Italy, etc., FULL OF NASTY LIBERAL ASSHOLES WHO JUST AREN’T HAPPY UNLESS THEY CAN CONTROL, DOMINATE, EDIT, DICTATE, OPPRESS, THREATEN, INTIMIDATE, INCARCERATE, RUIN, AND SUE ANYONE WHO DOES NOT AGREE WITH THEM!!!
    I feel very sorry for the food critic. He had every right to voice, express, and write his review, opinion, and article. That was his job and that was what he was paid to do. There is nothing libelous or defaming about the truth. The food critic did absolutely NOTHING wrong. Now, if he had taken a bribe or wrote the article to help the competition or some other underhanded, immoral, unethical, devious, or corrupt act, that would have been a totally different scenario all together. A lawsuit definitely would have been warranted, justified, and acceptable.

    • Heather Gordon

      Wow, did you even try reading it? The reason the critic got a shafting loss was because he MISREVIEWED this place as a single entity, when it was two, causing the other place whose food he didn’t eat to close up shop due to slowed customer traffic, caused by this review.

      Apparently everyone who doesn’t see shit your way is liberal….well I will take that title with pride then.

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