BrewDog CEO responds to private investigator allegations
James Watt, the co-founder and CEO of BrewDog, stated yesterday in a lengthy LinkedIn post that he had been “subject to a 2 year-long coordinated criminal campaign of online harassment, defamation, blackmail, significant fraud, and malicious communications.” The statement comes as a response to claims published by The Guardian on Monday that Watt had hired private investigators to gather evidence concerning individuals who had criticised him.
Watt wrote that he had engaged the digital investigative services to “identify the source of these damaging and false allegations”, and to “understand the extent of the campaign against us and to take appropriate legal action to bring it to an end.” Watt then concluded by reasserting that BrewDog is “about doing something different and building a business we are proud of and I’m sorry that there are a handful of people on a criminal mission to bring us down.”
I have issued a short response to today’s news article here: https://t.co/KATW3FiTzM
I accept that fair criticism comes with the territory, but we can’t allow fraud, lies & criminal behaviour to go unchallenged.
We remain completely focused on our people & our business. pic.twitter.com/bRMapj5JFt
— James Watt (@BrewDogJames) March 14, 2022
This is not the first time that Watt has taken to social media to vocalise his frustration with the recent media coverage surrounding him and BrewDog. He was the subject of a BBC documentary broadcast in January of this year titled The Truth About BrewDog. The hour long programme detailed alleged indiscretions from Watt and a corporate culture of intimidation, with interviews from former employees in the UK and US. Watt responded on Twitter:
The BBC published claims which are totally false & they published them despite the extensive evidence we provided to demonstrate that they were false.
Reluctantly, I am now forced to take legal action against the BBC to protect my reputation.
— James Watt (@BrewDogJames) January 24, 2022
One former employee interviewed for the programme was Rob MacKay. The Guardian piece claims that a former colleague of MacKay’s was visited and questioned by two ex-policemen claiming to be working for Watt. The fall out from the documentary within the craft beer world has been notable. Martin Dickie, who co-founded the company with Watt in 2007, has neither commented on The Guardian piece nor on the BBC documentary.