Thank you to all concerned friends and Blog readers who have contacted me about the defamatory posts on Monday and Tuesday by 2OceansVibe. 2OceansVibe has looked for any opportunity to slate us since I asked the question four years ago as to why its owner Will Mellor should hide his true name, using the alias ‘Seth Rotherham’.
There must have been nothing else to write about, for them to create a fictitious defamatory non-story, riddled with errors, and devoid of all journalistic ethics. The articles relate to a Blogpost I wrote on 27 February 2013 (yes, almost four years ago) entitled ‘SA Butler Academy grossly misleads its students and hospitality industry’: http://www.whalecottage.com/blog/cape-town/sa-butler-academy-grossly-misleads-its-students-and-hospitality-industry-clients/
I responded to the defamatory article on Facebook on Monday, as until today our Blog was hacked so severely that we could not Blog for almost a month. I will leave it to you to draw your own conclusions as to who would want our Blog and a particular blogpost to not be seen!
Let me run through the 2Oceansvibe story and its misleading content:
1. The story was initially posted with the headline ‘Local Blogger ‘WhaleTales’ Successfully Sued for R1 Million – Cape Town Rejoices’.
During the day the word ‘Successfully’ was removed, but it is visible in the link and in the headline of the handful of persons who have shared it.
‘Successfully’, as rookie writer Jasmine Stone of 2OceansVibe wrote, implies that the matter has been to court and that an award of R 1 million has been made to the SA Butler Academy. Nothing is further from the truth! A summons for R500000 damages as well as the demand that my blogpost be removed was received just before the Christmas break, and there has been no action on the matter since then.
2. Stone is so stoned by her vindictive story that she refers to me as the owner of the ‘Whale Cottage franchise’ and as a ‘food blogger’. I have never owned a franchise of anything, and it is common knowledge that I sold all Whale Cottages 18 months ago! I am not a food blogger either: I write about restaurants, wine, and tourism! I blog full-time. The photograph Stone used of me for the article is about four years old!
3. The Blog was offline due to the hacking and not for any other reason.
4. We stand by the content of our Blogpost about the SA Butler Academy misleading its students and the hospitality industry. I receive regular feedback from students to this effect, so it is still valid criticism.
5. Four years after writing the Blogpost, the SA Butler Academy realizes that my post is causing damage, being ranked second on Google!
6. Defamation cases are plentiful in SA law: there is nothing ‘landmark’ about this one! Threats such as these are often used as a bullying technique! I have no fear, being in the hands of an excellent legal team. Last year we went to the High Court to defend the demand by Le Chocolatier that we remove a similar blogpost I wrote about the misleading and potentially life-threatening claims they made about their Chocolates. The judge allowed us to retain the Blogpost!
7. I am known to be an honest writer, and my ethics and principles do not allow me to remove blogposts when threatened by legal action. I write the truth. In eight years of writing my Blog, the Le Chocolatier demand was the first to go to court. There have been others over the years, but they fell away due to the costs of going to court, and because they realized that they don’t have a legal leg to stand on! Our Carne exposé of Chef Giorgio Nava’s dishonest claims about his meat is a good example!
8. Stone has only half the story from her informant at the SA Butler Academy, as he did not tell her that the Academy wrote a defamatory article about us on their Blog, and included a link to every negative article that has been written about us. They have begged us to remove our post and promised to remove theirs, so that they do not have to pay legal fees. They have removed their defamatory post about us since, but have now gone to 2OceansVibe to create misleading and untruthful coverage! Our principles for the truth are greater than the fear of the court costs.
9. The ultimate low of the 2OceansVibe article is that Stone has not made contact with me to check her clearly incorrect facts! This is rule 101 of journalism! One wonders under which stone 2Oceansvibe found Stone! Or is she Will Mellor with a new pseudonym??
We will keep you updated about the matter as it progresses. We have invited Stone to meet for tea so that I can brief her on the correct details.
Die Burger published a story today about the SA Butler Academy Blogpost, after calling me yesterday: http://www.netwerk24.com/Nuus/Hof/butlers-akademie-eis-r1-miljoen-van-blogger-20170110
Please would you share this post to get the true facts communicated? Thank you.
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog. Cell +27 0825511323. www.chrisvonulmenstein.com Twitter: @ulmenstein Instagram: @chris_ulmenstein