Fitzroyalty occasionally receives threats and other pointless forms of pathetic posturing from deluded self-congratulatory types. I’ve been banned from the Melbourne food bloggers Facebook page for refusing to consent to be censored when discussing the dubious practice of accepting
freebies bribes in exchange for publishing positive reviews. I was falsely accused of publishing defamatory content by fashion shop Leonard St, which ironically could itself be considered defamatory.
In the past week various commenters have tried to suggest that I accept freebies from cafes, and that I am biased towards Slowpoke cafe and against a potential competitor that has not even opened (yet). I believe that the proprietors of the allegedly forthcoming Stencil cafe are simply attempting to get some attention and publicity, no matter how stupid they make themselves appear in the process. I’m playing along for as long as it continues to amuse me.
They initially sent me an email in June 2011 announcing that the cafe would soon open in the former premises of African Mix / Le Ha 3 on Brunswick St, and offering me free coffee in exchange for publicity. I declined the freebie and wrote about the cafe anyway.
A few days before I had reviewed the newly opened Slowpoke cafe a few doors north, and was impressed by it. I then waited for Stencil to open, but nothing happened. Then in January 2012 a sign for a different business appeared in the premises and it became obvious that Stencil was not opening there. I wrote about the hype in the PR email I had received and how bizarre it was. Then the trolling began.
The proprietors of Stencil have been disingenuous by claiming that ‘we have not had to re-consider’ despite acknowledging that they lost the original premises and that they are ‘moving to a spot on the same block’. Their negativity about their competitor Slowpoke is unprofessional – their comment ‘Check out Slowpoke if you want, they’re never open anyway’ is sarcastic and juvenile.
Today another email arrived. I presume it is tailored for publication as they now realise that PR emails sent to me are for public consumption. Their previous delusion that a PR email could be published, and would not be considered ‘personal’ or private, was apparently a difficult lesson to learn.
The email states:
The team here at Stencil have recently had a discussion about your article and poor behaviour regarding it. As a result of this we have decided to place a 6 month ban on you coming into the cafe when it opens up the road from the original planned location in just under a month’s time . However, you can work to over turn this ban with positive press on your blog. But as it stands it will be 6 months of not being allowed into the cafe or getting someone else to come in on your behalf so you can blog about it. Once the ban is up you are welcome to come in and PAY for your coffee or check out some of the fantastic artwork.
I trust this clears things up and I will notify you when the ban is up.
Phil and Christine
Stencil Cafe Team
My ‘poor behaviour’? It’s called journalism. It’s not my fault you sound ridiculous. You brought it on yourselves. Can’t you handle the truth?
Your ban won’t work. I doubt you know what I look like, so how will you know if I come in? You don’t know who my friends are, or what they look like, so you won’t be able to stop me asking a friend to review your cafe on my behalf, should it amuse me to do so.
Just to stroke my ego further, should you know what I look like, you should post a big ‘Wanted’ poster of my face on your wall. That would rock. You really are too amusing for your own good. Your positive bribery failed and your new negative bribery strategy is ludicrous. If you consider this to be an ethical business practice then you’re likely to make much bigger mistakes than merely publicly embarrassing yourselves…