Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Benihana Outrage

Many of you are already aware of Benihana's outrageous attempt to sue Mark, a blogger in Kuwait, for writing a bad review. Jad Aoun's blog highlights the issues, and Mustapha's BeirutSpring elegantly sums up the feeling of most Middle Eastern bloggers with: "We are all Mark now."

This is an issue that can have repercussions for the freedom of expression of bloggers in the region. The Middle East is not a place known for a free and independent press, and blogging is one of the few outlets for independent opinion.

Regardless of the merits of the case, Benihana has been callous in handling it. Even if they have a case (which I doubt) the manner with which their manager (Mike Servo) attempts to stereotype the Lebanese in his comments to Mark is bizarre. As a US corporation, I am sure that Benihana's corporate offices will not look favourably to their local manager's actions.

They should withdraw their case immediately, but whatever the outcome, their local manager must be fired now.

Those of you reading this please take a moment to write to Benihana of Tokyo Group via their website.  If you are too busy, simply send them a link to this blog posting. You can also join the Boycott Benihana Kuwait Facebook group.

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