Belgian Politician Caught Drunk In NYC Bar; Blames Bloggers

from the maybe-you-should-drink-alone dept

TechCrunch has a story from last week about a top Belgian politician who apparently got drunk in a New York City bar on a diplomatic trip to the US. A bartender at the bar wrote about it, noting how the politician, Pieter De Crem had acted in a way that was embarrassing. Additionally, his aides admitted that they came to NYC despite the fact that they knew the meetings they had lined up had all been canceled due to a UN meeting in Geneva. The whole thing got an extra spotlight of attention when a staffer complained to the bar owner, and the bartender was fired. But what's most interesting is how De Crem responded, going on a bit of a rampage against bloggers:
I want to take this opportunity and use this non-event to signal a dangerous phenomenon in our society. We live in a time where everybody is free to publish whatever he or she wants on blogs at will without taking any responsibility. This exceeds mud-slinging. Together with you, other Parliament members and the government I find that it's nearly impossible to defend yourself against this. Everyone of you is a potential victim. I would like to ask you to take a moment and think about this.
The thing is, he doesn't seem to dispute any part of the original report. He complains about this idea that people can publish without responsibility -- but if the problem is defamation, then why not deny the claims? If the report was true, then what, exactly, is the problem? The problem isn't that anyone can publish anything -- it appears to be that De Crem and his entourage didn't do a very good job hiding their questionable behavior.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    TEA-Time, Dec 1st, 2008 @ 6:11pm

    "blah blah blah ..without taking any responsibility."

    What about behaving responsibly at a public bar?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    DittoBox, Dec 1st, 2008 @ 6:28pm


    Funny, you don't hear politicians bitching when it comes time to let the government snoop in on us, yet you turn the tables and they scream bloody murder.

    Politicians and bureaucrats should be held to higher standards than the rest of us. If you're going to elect officers to maintain a system with which you order society, transparency in who and what they are is key. The internet is the great equalizer here, to remove that now would be stupid.

    That said I agree that there does need to be an element of responsibility, but if it's true...well, f**k off.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Jesse, Dec 1st, 2008 @ 7:24pm

    Damn you bloggers! You make it so hard to get away with acting irresponsibly!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Some Dude, Dec 1st, 2008 @ 7:52pm

    This is almost painful to see. The ambassador in question was acting questionably in a public area. I don't really know much about Belgians laws, but here we still have freedom of the press. Anything done in a public place is available for publishing. It is not as if he was sitting in a hotel room and the blogger was listening through the wall or watching with a little camera. Any person in the bar could have written on a blog about the activities that evening.

    The fact that the bartender was fired was inevitable, however unfortunate. As we hold politicians to higher standards, I believe there is also a standard for bartenders and service staff as well. There's a thin line here.

    Point being, the jackass shouldn't have acting in a manner that would garner such attention.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    bob, Dec 1st, 2008 @ 8:29pm


    I think the bar tender should sue the bar, the UN, and Belgian.
    If for no other reason than to bring more light on this.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Charles, Dec 1st, 2008 @ 9:03pm

    Will he edit Wikipedia

    I just added to his Wikipedia page a note about this event. Can we expect to see further news about his aides editing his wiki page?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. icon
    mike42 (profile), Dec 1st, 2008 @ 9:38pm

    The bar/owner

    This is all very nice, complaining about the creep-o politician. But as an American, I want to know the name of the bar, and the name of the owner who would do such a stupid thing. Where I'm from, one off-color remark to an African-American closed a bar AND forced the owner to move. I certainly think that a similar fate has been earned by this individual, whoever he/she is. The press needs to stop shielding the owner, so that people can boycott the establishment.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2008 @ 9:44pm


    What the fuck is a public bar?
    AFAIK all bars are privately owned.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Shohat, Dec 1st, 2008 @ 11:21pm

    Few simple rules

    Don't party with people that blog/twit/have facebook. It's that simple.

    Good thing the bartender got fired, I wouldn't want to go to a bar where the bartender would blog about it if I got drunk. Some basic etiquette is required.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    mike allen, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 1:20am


    if true then it is right to blog if not sue the blogger simple as to who bloged does not matter. If a politician gets drunk in a bar then it should be public knowledge reason he may be drunk while making a vital and important decision.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 4:36am

    While I agree that politicians should be held to a high standard, I also understand the concern.

    However, Pierre Du Fleur La Creme A Tete here has a point. If any action a marginally public figure does ends up permanently recorded in cyberspace, the internet suddenly isn't just a communications tool.

    We routinely hear cases of people being fired for information they posted on the internet. We tend to think that's silly on both sides.

    The internet would be the greatest surveillance tool ever. No one could ever let their guard down.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 5:28am

    Re: Re:

    Apparently this is not the case in America and it seems it's not permitted to get drunk in a bar LOL

    Americans are funny.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Kevin Stapp, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 6:19am

    A Disturbing Trend

    Nearly every politician from a democratically elected government champions the ideal of freedom of speech and press, at least until it adversely impacts his or her political fortunes. The reality is governmental support of freedom of speech and press was conceived at time when the media gate keepers were few and distribution channels limited and regulated. Traditional media filtered out the mundane indiscretions of our politicians as not newsworthy and, in turn, received a fair amount of quid pro quo from them.

    The internet changed the status quo by bypassing the gatekeeper's 'newsworthy' filters and exposing politicians (and traditional media itself) to ever increasing scrutiny. Gone are the days when an elected official can duck a report in the morning news about public drunkenness in exchange for an exclusive interview with a beat reporter; and with that there's an ever decreasing enthusiasm for truly free speech and press. alian-politicians-against-bloggers-again/ .html

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    Andrew D. Todd, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 6:26am

    Some Royal Advice.

    Louis XIX of France (Louis Le Grande, 1638-1715) gave this famous advice to a young man: "That if he were really so unfortunate as to be addicted to alcohol, he could at least get drunk in the privacy of his own quarters!"

    Seriously, if someone wants to hold a major public office, he's always on duty. It's like "officers eat last" in the Army.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    Sean, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 6:48am

    He needs a law like in Italy... Italy it's against the law to embarrass the parliament. An investigative reporter who conducted chemical tests in the parliamentary toilets to show cocaine residue, was fined €3,200...

    So instead of moaning about bloggers, they should just implement a law like that and fine 'em...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Erik, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 10:49am

    Yes, how dare the people engage their right to report on events happening in public places. If you don't want to be called out when you act like a jackass then confine your jackassery to private clubs and residences.

    Politicans and celebrities seem to think they belong to a class of people that are above scrutiny. They are not and they should be reminded of it as often as possible.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17. identicon
    MW, Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 11:54am

    Re: The bar/owner

    So close the bar and have more people lose their job? Screw the politician who can't keep his shit straight, they are suppose to be held to a higher standard when they are in a public office.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18. icon
    mike42 (profile), Dec 2nd, 2008 @ 4:40pm

    Re: Re: The bar/owner

    You're right. Those workers will NEVER find another job. Let the owner do whatever he/she wants.

    You voted for Bush both terms, didn't you?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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