Tuesday, June 16, 2009


We own a restaurant. Mon Ami Restaurant and Gallery is an ‘awarded’ restaurant which has been fortunate enough to enjoy a 90+% average occupancy for the last 6 years and has been subject to a number of very positive reviews including ‘Melbourne’s Best’ by the Herald Sun on the 31st of May 2009. Our website [monamirestaurant.com.au] has several of these reviews/awards listed.
We had never had a negative review until Mr. Downes went to press in the same Herald Sun.
Contrary to every other review or opinion, Mr. Downes defamed and castigated our restaurant, my partner and me by name, when he published his opinions on the 31st March 2009. It is so malicious and vitriolic and so opposite to any other review or customer opinion that it beggars belief. We can’t help but assume some other motive other than a desire to produce an honest and balanced report.
Our customers who read the Herald Sun dismiss Mr. Downes as a joke but there must be others who read his words and believe them or, even if they don’t trust all the comments, are dissuaded from booking at Mon Ami. Worse, because of the way the internet works, Mr. Downes’ vitriol is inexorably and permanently linked to my name and our restaurant.
Even the Herald Sun seems to treat Mr. Downes as a joke. As mentioned, just eight weeks after his review, within which he labels us as possibly the worst restaurant of all time, the Herald Sun through another review summarised us a ‘Melbourne’s Best’.
Unfortunately, the print thieves then take Mr. Downes words, in whole or in part, and republish them on their own website. This exacerbates any misrepresentations and indeed further damages our previously excellent reputations. Mietta’s website is one such example.
It is appalling that the Herald Sun [HWT – News Corp] supports Mr. Downes and his views by publishing his material and providing him with legal counsel to fend off subsequent objectors.
This complicity by HWT is evident by the fact that Mr. Downes reported within his review that he found a 12cm piece of metal in the food – as long as a small kitchen knife! The legal counsel for HWT refused to provide the object and photos of it in situ despite having already gone to press and accusing us to a reading audience of 1.5 million people. We contacted the health department and asked them to investigate Mr. Downes’ claim and we have also involved Police in the matter.
If such an item ever existed we needed to know. If something had disintegrated in the kitchen without our knowledge then it was Mr. Downes’ responsibility as a professional [sic] reviewer to inform us so that we could ensure others were not similarly affected. His negligence put others at risk. We believe he wanted to go to print for self gain as both victim and saviour.
We are disappointed that people accept the Downes’ style of journalism when overwhelming evidence from other reviews and customers shows his words as wrong, malicious and defamatory.
Our society does not need this low level of journalism.


What sort of world do we live in where people try and live their past glories by merely transcribing other people’s written work? Take the internet. Someone writes something, right or wrong, then the ink-jackals steal that work and republish it on their own website. They may even try to justify this theft as ‘doing a service’ in the interests of ‘spreading the word’ and indeed hope that people will read their website and give them credit by association. Sad people.

But what happens if the original material is wrong, defamatory and/or creates disunity or sedition? Does the ink-jackal escape scrutiny and punishment because he or she is just re-publishing others work? One would hope not.

In my opinion, the actions of the print-jackal are far worse than the original perpetrator. The author may be guilty of defamation, negligence at torte or even endeavoring to create dysfunction or riot through misrepresentation but, the print-thief is far worse because he or she doesn’t have the knowledge or the plain guts to research or write something themselves but instead chooses to hide behind someone else’s persona and just re-publish others works.

It is a sad indictment on our society that we accept this drivel.

In our case we do not accept it and will force remedy by exposing the theft and shaming the thief.