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]