A comment I made about Michael Broadbent's settling of a libel case against Random House, publisher of "The Billionaire's Vinegar," had to be deleted over at Jamie Goode's wine blog. I'm upset that Goode has had to remove posts because he is being bullied by Broadbent's son, Bartholomew. And "bullied" is the word--go read the sequence of posts for yourself.
Fortunately, the long arm of strict United Kingdom libel laws, and the threats by Bartholomew Broadbent to employ them to defend his father's honor, don't reach to North Carolina. I don't remember exactly what I posted, but it went something like this:
"Broadbent may celebrate his victory against Random House, but this isn't over. Jim Koch is still out there, and he's an angry guy with a lot of money to spend on lawyers. If he can prove that Hardy Rodenstock defrauded him in a U.S. Court, that will not do anything to help Michael Broadbent's reputation. I have only the highest respect for Michael Broadbent, and it is my opinion that he simply had a moment of acting foolishly (which could happen to any of us) with regard to Rodenstock and his wines."
It's not exact, but that's pretty much all I said.
I think this whole episode is sad, for everyone, especially Michael Broadbent himself; there are probably people who never knew his name until today, who don't know about his lifetime of achievement in the wine business, who are now going to associate his name with this nasty bit of business.