NEW INFORMATION: Apparently Jay Miller will no longer review wine for the Wine Advocate.
It's a red letter day for wines of balance in Spain and Washington!
(Hence this blog post is now a little outdated, but I'll leave it up anyway.)
Looks like wine journalist Jim Budd -- and maybe me as well? -- might need a legal defense fund.
Yesterday I asked Robert Parker to respond publicly to reports that Jay Miller's visits to wineries are for sale.
And Parker did respond, on his bulletin board, visible to subscribers only. It's not exactly the public response I asked for, but it's chilling in its effect nonetheless.
Since Parker spoke about suing "these bloggers" in his statement, I consulted attorney David Honig before publishing this post.
Sigh. What has the wine world come to, when we're all lawyering up?
Anyway, my original plan was to post what Parker wrote on his bulletin board here, on this website. But Honig -- who doubles as the publisher of Palate Press -- advised me that my risk isn't defamation, but copyright violation. Parker's belligerent message wasn't publicly published; it was for subscribers only.
Since Parker's lawyering up, I'm going to tread carefully around fair use of his response. Budd, without the benefit of legal advice, has quoted more extensively from Parker's response on his blog; you can read that (and go support him) here.
Parker says he investigated allegations from a blogger -- almost certainly Budd, though he never names him -- and found no substance to them.
Parker says he has asked attorneys in Europe and the US to examine every allegation and has hired an additional attorney in Madrid. And he mentions potential lawsuits by Jay Miller, Pancho Campo and the Wine Advocate against "these bloggers."
These bloggers? Did the temperature on the Internet just go down?
I'll ask again for the world's pre-eminent wine critic to respond PUBLICLY to the allegations.
Mr. Parker: if you investigated these allegations against Jay Miller and found them without merit, then tell us so. Your silence does not speak well of you in the court of public opinion. I'm no lawyer, but I can't see how telling us that the Wine Advocate is completely on the up-and-up is later going to hurt you in court (assuming, as I am, that you are ethically clean.)
You are an attorney; you understand the phrase "chilling effect." If you and the Wine Advocate did nothing wrong, then why are you trying to stifle bloggers?