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Ofcom rejects Brewdog documentary complaint

Ofcom has rejected a complaint from global beer giant Brewdog about a BBC documentary which highlighted allegations of inappropriate behaviour by its CEO James Watt.

The brewer had claimed that Watt and the firm had been treated unfairly and infringed the CEO’s right to privacy in the programme called The Truth about Brewdog.

In its verdict, regulator Ofcom said that facts were not presented, disregarded or omitted by the documentary in an unfair fashion, according to BBC News.

Going further, it said that Watt and Brewdog had been given an opportunity to respond to the allegations and their response was fairly reflected in the documentary. It added his right to privacy did not outweigh the right to freedom of expression and public interest.

The documentary, which aired on BBC Scotland a year ago, looked at the firm’s corporate culture and commercial practices, and included a number of allegations about Watt, such as he purchased £500,000 in Heineken shares and invested in a £2m Cayman Islands-based hedge fund.

Accounts were also given by former employees of their experience working with Watt, including alleged personal misconduct and abuse of power in the workplace.

Inappropriate behaviour

Lawyers for Watt have said the allegations are false and he has denied inappropriate behaviour.

Watt also declined to be interviewed for the documentary.

But he did say he regretted making anyone feel uncomfortable around him.

He said: “I truly apologise to anyone who felt that way. This was never my intention.

“However, I would argue that people feeling uncomfortable around me based on false rumours and misinformation does not represent inappropriate behaviour on my behalf.”

Living wage

The news comes only a few weeks after the brewery was caught in a controversy about its Living Wage commitments.

A letter was sent to BrewDog bar workers has revealed that both current and future employees will be paid below the real living wage, despite the company previously advocating for it.

Watt defended the decision, saying that the company has to “balance [its] books”.

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