Damn the Australian courts for patronising critics. A judge has just said that a bad review of a restaurant (now deceased) is defamatory. As Liz Hand says on the Inferior 4+1 blog, “time to start that legal defense fund“! This is not the first judgement, I believe, as a (if I recall correctly from yesterday’s Independent but the website is crashing) a Northern Irish judge upheld a similar complaint a while back.
Can I join in the shouts of “cry baby”? If a meal/book/play is not that good, surely it is a person’s right to criticise, particularly if that is their job? Reviewing cannot be up to the reviewee – that smacks of everyone deserves prizes. Sometimes the deepest cut is the kindest – it gives the person a chance to review their strategy and either take it on board or not. I’ve just read a scathing review in the Guardian today which at least tells the reader/restauranteur what went wrong and why.
This is a sad day.