In Brief

French Food Blogger Fined $3,400 for Bad Review

by Jillian Steinhauer on July 16, 2014

Screenshot of cached version of Caroline Doudet's negative review of Il Giardino (via web.archive.org)

Screenshot of cached version of Caroline Doudet’s negative review of Il Giardino (via web.archive.org)

A French court has ordered a blogger to pay €2,500 (~$3,380) for writing a negative review of a restaurant, Eater reported. Il Giardino, an Italian restaurant located in Cap-Ferret, France, sued blogger Caroline Doudet after she visited the establishment last summer and posted a scathing review of the place (which she’s since deleted but has been cached): the headline read, “L’endroit à éviter au Cap-Ferret: Il Giardino,” which translates to, “The Place to Avoid in Cap-Ferret: Il Giardino.”

Doudet went on to discuss not only the food but also the service, calling the boss “a diva.” This likely gave the restaurant grounds — or at least chutzpah — for its suit, as France has notably strict libel laws. The restaurant’s legal team claimed the article was “more of an insult” than a critical review and said its high appearance in Google search results was causing them to lose customers.

Lest you think these kinds of lawsuit are limited to France: they’re not. The 21st century may have wrought the death of the critic, but it has also birthed defamation lawsuits like never before.

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