“sour grapes”

Update 21.8.2009(28.7.2009)billn

the billionaire's vinegar
Remember this? That was June 2008. Well now we have the following:

Wine buff sues after being accused of a vintage rip-off
Among wine connoisseurs, Michael Broadbent reigns supreme. The 6ft tall, pinstriped oenophile, who launched the peerless Christie’s wine department in 1966, has spent a lifetime travelling the world tasting fine vintages, keeping notes of every one he has sipped, and writing the definitive wine handbook.
But at the age of 82, his famously sensitive nose is wrinkling not at an unwelcome bouquet – but at assertions in a new book that accuse him of being involved in a notorious wine fraud.

Well the pinstriped 82 year-old has taken more than a year to decide this course of action – I’d say that’s unacceptable…

[EDIT]:Well, with a 12-month (public) wall of silence, it appears to everyone that the pinstriped 82 year-old has taken more than a year to decide this course of action – I’d say that’s unacceptable…

From Bartholomew Broadbent’s comment to this diary entry, that clearly was not the case, but I remain critical; I’m not saying I would have recommended Max Clifford, but it’s a PR gaffe for sure. 12 months of silence indicates to all and sundry (i.e. not just me) acceptance if not agreement with what is written.

[EDIT 21-Aug-2009] Mike Steinberger also points to the lost cause

Agree? Disagree? Anything you'd like to add?

There are 3 responses to ““sour grapes””

  1. Bartholomew Broadbent28th July 2009 at 2:48 pmPermalinkReply

    Before you make pronouncement about what is acceptable, you should think about what you are commenting on. You are reacting to an announcement in the press. The decision was taken as soon as the book was first sold in the UK and that was at Hatchards well over a year ago. When the press announce something and when lawyers start building a case has no correlation.

    • billn28th July 2009 at 3:38 pmPermalinkReply

      Thanks for putting the record straight Bartholomew – let me then, make a slight update to what I said, which I will also copy in my diary:

      [EDIT]:Well, with a 12-month (public) wall of silence, it appears to everyone that the pinstriped 82 year-old has taken more than a year to decide this course of action – I’d say that’s unacceptable…

      From Bartholomew Broadbent’s comment to this diary entry, that clearly was not the case, but I remain critical; I’m not saying I would have recommended Max Clifford, but it’s a PR gaffe for sure, 12 months of silence indicates to all and sundry (i.e. not just me) acceptance if not agreement with what is written.

      That’s particularly the case when we hear of delayed publication of books due to legal challange for x,y or z, yet this only ‘floats’ out after a year of sales. You’ve put the record straight to this audience, but how will you do that with all the others that make up their mind in a similar fashion to me? Clearly we all live and learn…

  2. Bartholomew Broadbent28th July 2009 at 4:40 pmPermalinkReply

    Thanks for acknowledging my comment. I cannot comment on any specifics of the case but I don’t think the paparazzi activities can be credited with a causing PR gaff. It isn’t as is there was any intention to announce this. The timing of it being picked up by a tabloid in the UK is irrelevant. The law suit isn’t a PR stunt. It is serious. It doesn’t matter who gossips about it. The result of the proceeding is what counts and that could take years. There is no PR involved or needed until the matter is settled legally.

    • billn28th July 2009 at 5:29 pmPermalinkReply

      Understood, but I still think you overlook how decent PR offers the option to moderate, as opposed to influence public opinion.

      The public (or let’s say interested parties) can only have an opinion on what is in the public domain (or what they make up as heresay), until you responded in an ad-hoc way to my short diary note, ‘team Broadbent’ had nothing in the public domain, now you do, but that’s hardly a pro-active approach and I’m surprised the legal team did not not make briefings in that respect.

      Anyway, I wish your father whatever luck in this process that he truly deserves.

  3. Bartholomew Broadbent14th October 2009 at 5:13 amPermalinkReply

    My father has won his lawsuit.
    The press release reads:

    The libel action centred on the book The Billionaire’s Vinegar, the subject of which was the provenance of a number of bottles of wine said to have been owned by Thomas Jefferson. The book made allegations which suggested that Mr Broadbent had behaved in an unprofessional manner in the way in which he had auctioned some of these bottles and that his relationship and dealings with Hardy Rodenstock, who discovered the original collection, was suspected of being improper.

    In a statement read out in open court today, Random House apologised unreservedly for making the allegations and accepted that they were untrue. It has given an undertaking not to repeat the allegations and paid Mr Broadbent undisclosed damages.

    Commenting on the settlement Sarah Webb, head of Russell Jones & Walker’s Defamation department, who acted for Mr Broadbent said:

    “The Billionaire’s Vinegar made highly damaging claims about my client that seriously compromised both his professional and personal reputation. We are delighted that Random House has today accepted that these allegations are totally without foundation and avoided the need to proceed to a full trial. My client is relieved that the good name he has built up over many years as one of the country’s leading wine experts has been fully restored.”

    • billn14th October 2009 at 7:01 amPermalinkReply

      And good luck to MB, however, a corollary of Bartholomew’s news distribution was this very sad (my opinion) episode over at Jamie Goode’s ‘place’. I’ can’t say if BB really meant his comment as a threat, but it was certainly taken so by Jamie and posters alike – very, very sad…

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