While I might have a reputation for joining (and at times provoking) the odd Twitter storm, I don’t believe it’s the right forum in which to address Ed Charles’ recent article, so I have posted a few thoughts here. Of course, people can make their own minds up, but in the spirit of free speech I have a few things I would like to come back with:
Dear Mr Charles
Yes, I saw the John Lethlean piece – in fact we contacted him regarding the false claims he made about our blogging conduct. Despite receiving a quick email on 24 February assuring us he would send a proper response when he had the time, we are still waiting to hear from him. Perhaps you will be able to clarify where you are getting your information from, as it is mostly incorrect – including the name of the blog.
And while we are on that subject, the name of the blog is actually based on a line from a Streets song (a popular band from Birmingham, UK) and is not a covert reference to our assumed penchant for freebies. It’s a shame you didn’t contact me to clarify a few things before you hit publish, but why let factual accuracy get in the way of a good ‘witch hunt’?
Let me clarify: yes I was employed by the Paul Mathis Group up until September 2013. I then moved, along with a handful of the group’s restaurants, to Hospitality One. To be clear, I no longer work for either of these restaurant groups, but while I was in their employment I never reviewed one of their venues on the blog.
It is troubling, therefore, that you should accuse me of just this. I presume you are referring to the Henry and the Fox and Firechief reviews, both posted months before I commenced employment with Paul Mathis. We don’t retrospectively edit our posts, and I didn’t feel the need to remove them once I started working with the two restaurants – they reflect my opinion at the time. If I am missing something, please enlighten me – it strikes me as strange that, as a former journalist, you don’t back up any of your allegations with physical evidence.
Your examination of the ethics of food blogging is entirely valid and you make some excellent points, as did John in his discussion of the ACCC’s new guidelines. It’s just such a shame that you felt you had to frame some of these arguments in a misrepresentation of Sharking for Chips and Drinks.
Thanks for your time, and happy blogging,