Gordon Ramsay London Evening Standard & Gold Bars
What do Gordon Ramsay, the London Evening Standard, Brian Johnson and gold bars have in common?
Abuse of Media Power and Lack of Responsibility
Gordon Ramsay successfully sued Brian Johnson for libel after the L.E.S. published an inaccurate article alleging that Gordon's programme used fake scenes, and other inaccuracies.
We had never heard of Brian Johnson before
False misleading journalism, and lack of apology.
According to The Guardian*:
Gordon Ramsay Wins Damages Over 'Faked Scenes' Allegation
Wednesday June 21, 2006
It was the episode in which Gordon Ramsay was seen retching after being fed a rancid scallop. Later, the chef who gave him a "signature" dish of scallops, black pudding and hollandaise sauce admitted he could not even cook an omelette.
Yesterday the most memorable episode of the Channel 4 series Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares, in which the chef used variations of the word "fuck" 111 times in the course of an hour, was the subject of a libel action at the high court in London.
Ramsay and the programme makers accepted £75,000 damages and an apology from the London Evening Standard after allegations in an article claiming that some scenes shot at Bonaparte's restaurant in Silsden, West Yorkshire, had been faked to make average restaurants look like a hazard to public health.
Ramsay's solicitor, Keith Schilling, said the article, by Brian Johnson, alleged that Ramsay's programme drove some restaurants out of business.
Mr Schilling told the hearing: "The defendants published an article on November 3 2005 which alleged that the programme specialised in cynically faking scenes to make average restaurants look like public health hazards, driving some out of business. It alleged the claimants were guilty of 'gastronomic mendacity' by installing an incompetent chef and fabricating culinary disasters in order to wreck Bonaparte's reputation."
It was claimed that Ramsay, the programme makers, Optomen Television, and Patricia Llewellyn, managing director of Optomen, had been libelled. Mr Schilling said: "No scenes had been faked ... the restaurant was in financial difficulty before the programme was filmed, the chef was not installed by the claimants."
Representing the Evening Standard, barrister Adam Cannon apologised for the distress and embarrassment caused by the article, which was accepted as false.
After the settlement, before Mr Justice Eady, Ramsay said: "I won't let people write anything they want to about me. Even I have limits and on this occasion the line was crossed. I am satisfied with today's apology."
Mr Schilling said that both Ramsay and Ms Llewellyn had suffered distress, with their integrity and credibility attacked. He said all three claimants had suffered damage to their reputations.
In the show, Ramsay, holder of three Michelin stars, had arrived at Bonaparte's to find it struggling. He was sick after he ate a scallop-based dish, which he pronounced "fucking minging". The kitchen was filthy and there were punnets of rotting strawberries.
The chef, Tim Gray, was later sacked and said afterwards: "I can't cook as well as I thought I could, clearly."
Although we would prefer to hear Gordon Ramsay with a fewer F*** words, we guess it is part of his style, and it seems to be quite effective judging from his culinary reputation, and the acclaim and success of his many restaurants. Gordon's management style appears to be diametrically opposed to that of Anton Mossiman, who runs his kitchens with quiet calm and organisation. We do not of course suggest that Ramsay is not organised or efficient. We understand it must be difficult keeping a widely varied restaurant staff constantly motivated. In recent months I have suggested that we invite Gordon Ramsay to visit our premises, and wonder what he would say about our procedures.
We have also enjoyed watching Gordon's excellent TV programmes in which he attempts to help or save struggling restaurants. The differing degrees of success surely depend on the attitudes of the owners, and whether they accept and retain what they have been shown. Naturally, we expect some of the scenes may have been dramatised or edited, and may previously have wondered how bad the restaurants originally were. Now, thanks to what has been admitted as false reporting, we can rest assured that Ramsay's programmes reflect an accurate view of the catering establishments featured. How and why the false reports came to be, we may never know, and this aspect of the affair would probably be the most illuminating.
We ourselves have encountered the occasional problem with inaccurate and inventive journalists, although fortunately they appear to have realised their errors, and not published defamatory material. Mostly the pressmen we encounter are only too happy to be able to use the goldmine of useful and accurate information on this and our other websites. Some even take note that we include useful "public interest" pages, giving advice and urging caution when dealing with a small number of other parties. We detest dishonesty in business, and also in journalism. We applaud those who have the time and resources to take countermeasures to defend their justified reputations. At the same time we detest those, such as the late Robert Maxwell, who abuse their power, wealth and influence. We will say no more!
* We have removed a name from our copy of this article.
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