Kuwaiti Blogger Sued After Negative Benihana Review
from the well-that'll-help dept
Slashdot points us to the news that the folks who manage a Benihana chain restaurant in Kuwait are apparently unfamiliar with the Streisand Effect. A Kuwaiti blogger, for the site 248am, wrote up a negative review of a newly opened Benihana restaurant, including a couple of videos he shot in the restaurant. The review seems perfectly fair. He liked some of the food, but found some of it to be really bad, such that he had no intention of going back. A day after the review appeared, a guy named Mike Servo, claiming to represent Benihana management in Kuwait wrote a comment on the blog complaining about the review and promising to sue. Here’s just a snippet:
I also found it out that our rights and name is being used in a wrong way and broadcasting the video without a proper consent from us is really annoying specially Benihana is just opened up its doors to the public.
We are seeking and consulting our legal dept. on how we can form a type of law suit against your website to be brought up to the Kuwait authorities.
We respect opinion, but we see it in a way that Benihana name have been destroyed and abused on your website.
We are eager to know your name and meet you personally if you don?t have anything to hide.
Servo then interacts with several of the commenters who suggest (perhaps accurately) that he’s being ridiculous. Rather than take that to heart, Servo apparently decided to push forward with the lawsuit, in which they set forth a conspiracy theory that the blogger was purposely trashing Benihana in connection with his job at an advertising agency. Either way, the blogger is fighting the lawsuit, saying that he doesn’t believe the original post was libel at all. Hopefully the courts agree. An English translation of the original complaint is embedded below.
In the meantime, however, Benihana itself (beyond just the local franchise) has been getting a ton of attention over this issue. Not only has this decision to sue created a lot more attention for the negative review, but it’s impacting the wider Benihana chain. I would argue that the negative publicity over a bogus lawsuit is likely to have a much larger impact than a single review involving a guy who got some bad chicken. Accidents like that happen. Suing a critic over a negative review is not an accident, but a specific decision, and the company is now paying the price for making such a decision that only serves to raise more questions about why anyone would support such a restaurant.