Riedel vs Hosemaster: resolved

10th August, 2015 by Rupert Millar

Riedel and Tim Atkin MW have resolved a dispute over a satirical article published on Atkin’s website.

riedel_gvs_2011_schwarzLast week Riedel sent California-based writer, Ron Washam aka “Hosemaster of Wine” a letter threatening legal action if he failed to retract an article he’d written which included an imagined “interview” with Georg Riedel.

The letter claimed the article was defamatory and that there was, “nothing satirical or funny about the article or the act of libelling Riedel.”

Although Riedel’s chances of bringing a successful suit against Washam in the US were slim, his publisher in the UK, Atkin, was more vulnerable.

However, the situation has been resolved quickly and without recourse to the courts.

In a statement released on Saturday Atkin and Riedel announced the matter was settled.

Atkin explained: “In his inimitable style, Ron was poking fun at Riedel the wine glass company, a brand which I respect and use personally.”

“On my website, I failed to explain clearly enough that the article was a piece of satirical writing and, as a result, I caused offence to Georg Riedel, for which I apologise.”

“I would like to make it clear that no interview with Georg Riedel took place in the creation of Ron Washam’s article and that all the quotes it contains are fictitious and do not represent the personal views or business practices of Georg Riedel or his company.”

Riedel in turn commented: “We are pleased that we have been able to resolve this issue amicably. I have known Tim for a long time and there is mutual professional respect between us.”

“I am a true advocate of free speech and that is something I would never try to suppress. I welcome satire, as long as it is clearly stated and can be identified unmistakably by the reader. In its original published form, this was not clear and the piece was personally insulting and linked me with opinions that I strongly condemn. This was an extremely upsetting experience and I am very pleased that we have been able to reach an agreement, to leave this behind us and to move on.”

10 Responses to “Riedel vs Hosemaster: resolved”

  1. Jason Brandt Lewis says:

    While I cannot speak to the libel laws of the UK, it would seem to mean that a) anyone with even the slightest familiarity with Ron Washam, and/or b) anyone with any familiarity whatsoever with Georg Riedel and Riedel glassware, would have NEVER mistaken the comments for anything BUT satire. With no desire to be sued myself, I have to say that Ron’s piece was hysterically funny — as is almost everything he writes. I suspect Herr Riedel either has a very thin skin, or his attorney does.

    • Burgpoodle says:

      But the point is, many people will never have even heard of Ron Washam, and be less familiar with his work, but may well know the Riedel brand and their products, and therefore may come across the article and draw the wrong conclusions. Both Riedel and Tim Atkin have done the right thing in getting this cleared up.

  2. Steve says:

    Only the strong and powerful survive. Bitch slapping is a business practice encouraged to run over those that do not respect satire. I have been called worse and don’t have the necessary big hardware to slap back publically. Oh well, guess I will switch to plastic wine glasses.

  3. Wine Wench® says:

    Sheesh!

    Hosey was just doing his thing. I wonder how many times Jon Stewart & Stephen Colbert have been bitch slapped like that for doing their thing…
    Spieglaü, here I come!

    Tim, you handled that very graciously. Cudos!

    Hosey – we love ya. Shine on, you crazy diamond!

    Hugs!
    Sue

  4. Bob Foster says:

    So the bully backed down. ( note this is just my opinion Mr Riedel) I still will never buy any of his wine glasses.

  5. Dan says:

    Jason – you make the assumption that anyone who happens to search for, say, info on Reidel glassware and stumbles across Ron’s article will have the “slightest familiarity” with his style and intent. Let’s face it, we’ve all see plenty of hysteria and name calling and denigration of one person or another out there because “I read it on the internet therefore it must be true”. How many times have we seen blowups over something published on a site like The Onion because half the people on the internet haven’t a clue…?

  6. Wine Imbiber says:

    Riedel is quoted saying, “I welcome satire, as long as it is clearly stated and can be identified unmistakably by the reader. In its original published form, this was not clear…” Question: Was TheHoseMaster piece so plausible that Riedel needed a warning stating the piece was satire? Just wondering.

  7. John Skupny says:

    The king has no clothes – and no humor. I know producers who would love to be taken
    the the Hosemaster’s woodshed. Obviously the kill joy of Austria is not one of them. Fortunately
    for me, I have broken so many wine glasses in my life that no one lets me touch, let alone buy
    those crystalline vessels of snobbery.

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