French online critic fined for posting negative review before restaurant opens

A French court has fined an internet user 2,500 euros ($3,860) for posting a false and malicious review of a restaurant five days before it opened to the public, France’s Le Monde newspaper reports.

The author criticised Dijon’s Loiseau des Ducs restaurant on France’s Pages Jaunes (Yellow Pages) website in July 2013 under the name The Clarifier, calling it “very overrated”.

“All for show and with very little on the plate. The most plentiful plate was the one carrying the bill,” the review said.

The High Court of Dijon ruled that the review “can not correspond to the expression of an objective opinion based on real experiences”.

Restaurant manager Ahlame Buisard told local newspaper Le Bien the case was a matter of principle and not directed at genuine customers who write honest reviews.

“We wanted to pursue this case because it is a lesson to people who write these reviews in order to destroy,” she said.

Loiseau des Ducs was awarded a Michelin star in February 2014.

The reviewer, who has not been named in French media reports, also has to pay costs of 5,000 euros ($7,725).


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