Eater LA, through a post signed by Curbed creator Lockhart Steele, says its post earlier this week leveling blind charges at downtown wine bar The Must "didn't rise to our standards, and we shouldn't have published it." Steele also agreed to post an unedited retort from the bar's owners, who say in part:
Eater LA did not make any effort to contact us, which leads us to believe that both Eater LA and Kat Odell lack in basic journalistic ethics and codes of conduct. Elina Shatkin [of the L.A. Times] called us after hearing about the Eater LA post and, with us, reviewed the allegations, one at a time, asking us which, if any, were true. Here is the link to the LA Times blog providing our side of the story. As previously stated, we are APPALLED at Eater LA for such a posting and would like nothing more to do with them or any affiliated sites.
We love our customers and know that anyone who has actually been to our establishment would know the genuine labor of love that The Must is for our entire staff and us. We are quite busy right now, sitting on deck, sipping on our house made sangria, nibbling on Humboldt Fog and enjoying the beauty of all these amazing ice caps.
Copyright and media lawyer Ben Sheffner surveys the wreckage after the jump.
Good for Eater for acknowledging the error of its ways. The original post with the apparently false allegation, however, remains up -- and, as I explained, assuming that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act applies here (which I consider highly likely), The Must can't sue Eater, or force the site to take down the offending post. That remains true even if The Must can prove beyond all doubt that the allegations were false. (Yes, Section 230 is a very strong law, which even the California Supreme Court recognized has "disturbing implications.")
More by Sheffner at his blog Copyrights and Campaigns.