L’effet Streisand: French Restaurant Awarded Huge Backlash Of Negativity After Its Defamation Lawsuit Against Critic

Submitted By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Streisand Estate
Le Cap Streisand

We previously reported of an outrageous lawsuit by the owners of the Il Giardino Restaurant in Cap Ferret, France who sued a blogger critical of the dining experience, HERE. Essentially Caroline Doudet was sued by the restaurant’s owners because her allegedly disparaging blog post ranked highly on Google searches for the restaurant–fourth in a Google search return the lawsuit claimed. The title of her critique was in the English, “The place to avoid in Cap Ferret, Il Giardino” and was the cause leading to the lawsuit, according to paperwork filed.

“I was really stunned and disgusted, and of course I will worry now [whenever I] write a negative review,” Doudet said of the effect of the case in an e-mail to Wired.co.uk. “I regret the article, because it’s so much noise for nothing.”

Nevertheless a French Court handed down an emergency ruling blocking the article’s title and awarding Il Giardino €2,500 in fines and court costs.

The restaurant’s owners claimed the title defamed them, causing great damage to a business they worked fifteen years, seven days a week to build and the Google ranking was causing them increasing harm. But in what became a new definition of “Damage Award” the internet came alive and rendered a harsh judgment in its court of appeals. Fame became infâme. And the repercussions were magnifique.

The Streisand Effect has certainly manifested in this case.

Despite the ruling to curtail free speech, of course WebArchive.org mirrored the site and it may be read HERE, Le chat was out of the bag. Angered, internet citizens spread the word wildly. Now Google has a much different ranking of the restaurant.

Your author performed a Google Search using the arguments “Cap Ferret Il Giardino” and the return was with two exceptions entirely hits on the ruling, negative reviews, or press about the restaurant for more than ten pages. Moreover, the French flavor of Google+ had a very telling entry into its restaurant review of Il Giardino. The first few comments were seemingly before the controversy erupted, and generally positive. Then, afterward, the service became inundated with harsh comments against the restaurant. The graph below is quite telling:

Star Ratings Bar Graph
Star Ratings Bar Graph

The comments included the following; translated roughly from various languages, except two that are best read in the original French. All gave one star ratings:

To avoid! Not only did we not find the food not good at all, but the service was just pitiful! And what’s more, this restaurant can sue legal bloggers who just express their opinions! Innaceptable! I hope they close their doors very soon! (Thierry B)

The place to avoid in Cap-Ferret. Poor service, and the owner has a dreadful attitude. She can’t handle criticism well at all, and will likely threaten to sue you. Essentially the ‘Amy’s Baking Company’ of France. 1/5 – Would not try again. (Liam Mencel)

The waiter hovered around, listening to our conversation and waggled his finger at us any time we expressed an opinion. We had to start whispering to avoid his stern frowns when we mentioned what we had and had not enjoyed about our vacation so far. Finally, when he overheard me mention that the pizza was a bit overpriced, he ran to find the manager, who promptly demanded payment and then threw us out. (Troy Brophy)

I’ll be in France in November, but since I’m a writer, even more than a blogger, I won’t be stepping foot in a dump that might sue me for reporting on it being a dump. Anyway, the place is a dump. (Mike Williamson)

Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen, Art. 11 The free communication of thought and opinions is one of the most precious rights of man: any citizen may therefore speak, write and publish freely, except to respond to the abuse of this liberty in cases determined by law. (Thibaud Maitre)

Effet Streisand (Jean-Baptiste Poirrier)

la liberté d’expression n’étant pas au menu de cet établissement , j’utilise ma liberté de blâmer et note en conséquence Quelle que soit la critique exercée par cette blogueuse , saisir la justice a ce sujet est pour un commerçant une erreur fatale (Pierre Louis)

The food is horrible, service is terrible. The healthy food is too hot.. (Stephan Meijer)

Imbéciles. (Matthew Gardner)

Now, a large number of major European and North American news agencies have taken notice, Including BBC and other equivalents, resulting in ever increasing numbers of folks who never ate at Il Giardino, but are certain it is a very bad place to visit.

The restaurant might believe it received justice in court, but there are other forms of justice.

By Darren Smith



Google + France, Review of Il Giardino

The views expressed in this posting are the author’s alone and not those of the blog, the host, or other weekend bloggers. As an open forum, weekend bloggers post independently without pre-approval or review. Content and any displays or art are solely their decision and responsibility.

29 thoughts on “L’effet Streisand: French Restaurant Awarded Huge Backlash Of Negativity After Its Defamation Lawsuit Against Critic”

  1. Paul, If you want to see Doc Holliday’s grave in Glenwood Springs you got to hike it, and it’s steeper and higher than Deadwood’s cemetery.

    1. Nick – considered going to Seth Bullock’s grave, but the climb was too much after an already long day. 🙂

    1. Nick – looked at the hill and decided to take the bus tour to the hill. Have pics of the graves as well as the chief madam of Deadwood.

    1. Nick – trip was great. Deadwood was full on gambling spots. Got to see ‘Wild Bill’ Hickcock assassinated again. Still outraged. 🙂

  2. I would like to share something with you folks. Giardino is a Mafia family name.

  3. Nick,
    please provide us evidence that backs your general claim that the worst venue for free speech is at US universities.

    1. rafflaw – for information on the suppression of speech on campus, check out a site called Campus Insurrection.

  4. Hmm, sometimes stirring the pot is not the best idea. To avoid burning the soup, turn down, not up, the heat.

  5. With her attitude, I doubt she had any more regulars left, surviving on and fleecing the tourist trade, which even that she has managed to muck up already. One’s disposition is a sure reflection of the health of kidneys, which when impaired cannot remove all toxins. One cannot have charisma and toxic blood at the same time. In a country where alcohol is preferred over water, impaired kidney function is the norm from middle age on already. One of my favorite classic essays is Ben Franklin’s “Dialogue Between Franklin and the Gout.”

    Of course, the US leads the world when it comes to kidney impairment, a dialysis center on every corner now, a consequence of Roundup Ready crops, GMO food from every fast food joint, restaurant and grocer, a dozen pharma scripts for every patient, a six-pack or cheap bottle of wine with every meal, and yet we cannot figure out why we lead the world in road rage and massacre. It’s not complicated.

  6. Puppet:
    Food is about 70% the reason I would pick a restaurant to go to.
    ambiance, relaxing atmosphere, friendly service, a sense of invitation, these are all things that I value highly when going to a restaurant, and none of those things would be found at Il Giardino. Don’t tell me I have to go there to find out whether these things are true, their very bad intentional behavior proven in the public record.
    Imagine picking a restaurant for its fantastic food, but having to suffer through awful disparaging treatment and nasty attitude, would you go there?

  7. Surprisingly, Amy’s Baking Company is still in operation. Was by there a couple of weeks ago and there were people standing in front of the business getting their picture taken with the business sign in the background. I know people who want to go just for the experience. Different strokes!!!

  8. Great piece. The truth shall make you free. Our worst venue for free speech in the US is our universities.

  9. Just deserts, my thoughts exactly.

    Unfortunately disparagement law suits are not unknown in the US and anti disparagement clauses in a variety of consumer contracts are slowing becoming boilerplate, that is, the norm. Free speach for humans is not favored it seems in any country.

  10. The lawsuit is a terrible thing… the French judge made a terrible decision ….. however…. that does not make the food bad or the service bad …. I distrust the subsequent reviews.

    1. 99guspuppet, I retrieved your comment that was for unknown reasons in the spam trap.

  11. Something about just desserts…
    That’s turnabout Kangaroo Court style and that’s the way the cookie crumbles. Trying to stifle another person’s freedom of expression is a haughty thing to do and the restaurant owner deserves backlash. She clearly brought this upon her self but, God help me, I can’t help feeling a smidge bad for her. Unless she has a solid core of regulars, this will probably put her out of business. If she’d grit her teeth and said nothing, the bad review would have faded into the hazy memory of the web. It just goes to show… I dunno. Something.

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