Have you ever eaten in a restaurant and not been completely satisfied with your visit? Maybe the food was not what you had expected or the service was not up to your standards.
Perhaps you then decided to write an online review to warn others. Did the owner of the restaurant then commence a campaign of harassment against you referring to you in a defamatory manner?
This is exactly what happened to Elayna Katz, a 42 year old woman who had wrote an online review about Mambo Nuevo Latino restaurant in Ottawa, Canada. The owner, Marisol Simoes then hit back at the review and started a 2 year campaign to humiliate Katz. She branded Katz as a “lonely, unstable, sexually insatiable transsexual”. Simoes had also set up a dating site under Katz’s name and sent various emails impersonating her. Katz described this ordeal as a very embarrassing time.
Simoes was then charged by Ottawa police under Canada’s defamation laws which are rarely used. She was found guilty of 2 counts of libel and was sentenced, facing up to 5 years in prison.
This further highlights the dangers of posting an online review and the defamation it can prompt. In this case it was the owner of a restaurant who was harassing a reviewer but in other cases online shoppers might be targeted with internet defamation. See our blog post Is Amazon a compassionate organisation?
- Defamation on reviews (defamationlawyer.co.uk)
- Restaurant owner found guilty of defaming customer (Canada) (internetdefamation.co.uk)
- Top 5 Food Crimes of 2012 (friendseat.com)