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Food Blogger Asked by French Court to Delete Negative Review of Italian Café

Apparently, in France, you can’t complain of rude service, cold wine, and dry pizza.

In a case that could well serve as a demonstration of Europe’s higher tolerance of censorship, a popular food blogger named Caroline Doudet was ordered by a French court to change her negative restaurant review of Italian café Il Giardino. She was also ordered to pay $3,380 in damages and legal fees.

Doudet is behind the popular Cultur’elle blog, which has a visitor count of about 3,000. Her negative review, which she has decided to delete, described Il Giardino as a “place to avoid in Cap-Ferret”; the post showed up prominently on Google search results, appearing fourth in the results of a search for the restaurant. The owners found out about it and complained to the court that the review was bad for business, and was hurting them unfairly.

“This decision creates a new crime of ‘being too highly ranked (on a search engine),’ or of having too great an influence,” Doudet told the BBC. “What is perverse is that we look for bloggers who are influential, but only if they are nice about people.”

In the US, there have been similar cases of business owners being upset by the impact of negative reviews, going so far as to sue the review-writing customers. Early this year, a split decision was reached in a defamation trial featuring a housing contractor and a Yelp user. Europe, however, seems to have a broader tolerance of censorship. In California, a new bill has been passed, protecting the right of consumers to leave negative reviews; the rest of the US might soon follow suit.

If you’re a business owner who has received a negative, potentially harmful review, we here at ReviewTrackers recommend that you don’t sue. It makes much more sense (and it will cost less) to simply apply best practices for responding to bad reviews. For tips, check out these posts below:

Migs Bassig

Migs is the Content Manager for ReviewTrackers. He's a creative writer who has helped numerous companies communicate more effectively online, and he loves sharing his local marketing knowledge to help brands and business succeed.

Discussion

  1. Benito Salvatore

    So this is how it will be from now on – you are a frustrated writer who wishes to write a novel, but works for a trashy newspaper. In order to feel useful and meaningful, you write a sarcastic review on a local bakery store where you waited in line for “scandalous” 5 minutes. In the review you used all your wit and language mastery, creating an evil (yet funny) review. People are reading it because it’s funny and they like reading your work. The bakery’s reputation is ruined, it loses many customers and next time you enter the store, owner either screams at you knowing that you will butcher him and his business in next review or he will humbly let you to purchase without waiting (or without paying), making other people wait, because you are more important than others.
    This reviewers-terror must be stopped. I’m glad to see that reviewers are not untouchable. She almost ruined their business just because she is popular.

    Reply
  2. Hollaback Will

    Wow, I didn’t heard about her, but she sound really successful blogger. No wonder they were threaten by her.

    Reply

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