Is truth a defence?

Another Reuters piece:

McDonald’s has sued one of Italy’s top food critics for raking its restaurants over the coals, but the critic says he has no intention of going back on saying its burgers taste of rubber and its fries of cardboard.

About Ken Parish

Ken Parish is a legal academic, with research areas in public law (constitutional and administrative law), civil procedure and teaching & learning theory and practice. He has been a legal academic for almost 20 years. Before that he ran a legal practice in Darwin for 15 years and was a Member of the NT Legislative Assembly for almost 4 years in the early 1990s.
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Ron Mead
Ron Mead
2022 years ago

There is an Australian precedent for this many years ago when foodie Leo Schofield lost what looks like a similar cause against a Sydney restaurant when he bucketed their meals. A similar case in Sydney about ten years ago was when the director of the Art Gallery of NSW was sued by an artist whose work he described as “Yuk”. In this case Capon lost the case but the artist was awarded derisory damages.

The whole notion of the law of defamation being directed against the expression of opinions of personal taste is offensive to free speech.

The law of defamation is used by those with deep pockets to silence criticism simply because it’s extremely costly to defend such actions. Maccas is simply acting commercially to defend its interests. The anti-globalisers will point to such actions as ammunition in their case against capitalism, but the true fault lies with the law and the legislators for allowing such nonsense suits to be initiated at all.

Michael Jennings
2022 years ago

After the British McLibel case, one would think McDonald’s had actually learned something about when not to sue. It seems not, however.