I write about stuff. Sometimes I get paid for what I write but mostly I write because I enjoy writing and sharing my thoughts with people, mainly whisky lovers, everywhere. I don’t have a publishing company behind me to deal with the risks inherent in putting what I write out in the public domain. This means that if anyone doesn’t like what I wrote and gets the lawyers involved, I have to deal with that fallout.
The last defamation case I read about was Jacob Zuma v Zapiro – that was a claim of R 5 million against Zapiro (Read here for some info). If a company applies for an interdict to stop me publishing something or to remove the offending article from my website – oh dear. If the company wins, I’m looking at a bill of around R 250 000.00. That’s a serious amount of money. I’ve got two school going kids and simply cannot afford the risk of a court case with anyone with deep pockets.
If I need to visit a bar or hotel for work purposes, because I write about whisky and have events there, the owners can refuse me entry & effectively ban me from the premises. Right of admission reserved. Simple as that. The owners don’t have to give me a reason.
I respect the right of any company to determine who they do and who they don’t allow into their business premises. I respect the right of anyone to exercise all lawful means, including going to Court, to take steps to protect their reputation.
I also talk about whisky, independently, for a number of companies in and outside South Africa. So I need to speak at events, it’s part of my job, part of my income and part of what I love doing.
As far as the Cape Grace goes, this Friday I’m speaking about whisky at an event at Bascule for an international company, with guests from around Europe and Africa. I look forward to working with George and Bradley of the Bascule, planning that event. I really don’t need or want a public fight that can result in the Cape Grace banning me or taking legal action against me. Hey – remember what I said about what I wanted to do when my daughter turns 18 – that Johnnie Black at the Bascule – why would I risk that? So, I’m not going to say or do anything that may get me into trouble.
If this upsets anyone that was expecting a detailed followup, I apologise, but what would you do in my position?
I’m not saying that I’ve been threatened, but I am saying that somethings are best resolved in private.
For those that complained that I wrote from the safety of my keyboard – that’s simply wrong. I have said before and will say again – I’m happy to debate matters one-on-one with anyone who takes issue with what I said.
Seek peace, for the love of whisky.