In recent days, wine writer Natalie MacLean has been publicly called on the carpet by members of the wine writing community for content theft and other less-than-honorable deeds. It’s my opinion that these writers have reason to do so; there’s an undercurrent to the story that Ms. MacLean has not done well to resolve.
This post appears on Natalie MacLean’s website; it is her response to this outcry. While the post has garnered nearly 30 comments, all appear to support Ms. MacLean. In my response to this post, which is duplicated below, I call it like it is for me.
UPDATE 12/24/2012: Ms. MacLean removed my comment within minutes of my posting it.
Ms. MacLean, back in late 2005, I quoted a passage on my former blog, Winehiker Witiculture, from one of your articles. I gave you proper attribution and link love in that post, quoted you accurately, and yet received a quick comment on that post from you, demanding that I immediately remove the passage. I was perplexed by your viewpoint, to be sure; I recall having been struck by the notion that you had little idea how social media worked, much less how to foster reciprocal dialog with a potential fan.
People quote each other all the time; I don’t need to explain how or why – you know it to be true. A simple acknowledgment of my shout-out from you would have been sufficient affirmation of my reference to your article (given your own inclination to do so); such follow-up would have conformed to generally-accepted typicality.
Despite the puzzling nature of your request, I nevertheless gave you the benefit of the doubt and promptly removed the quote. You are the only person who has ever asked me to do so.
However, my respect for you was needlessly tarnished; over time, your seemingly quid pro quo methods began to desensitize me to your approach. I simply began to view you with jaundiced eyes, and I didn’t waste any time looking elsewhere for wine-related information. I am not surprised, then, to learn that a number of your well-respected peers are also smelling the same fishiness I once did. My episode with you is now no longer an experience unique to me.
I cannot speak for Palate Press nor any other entity, and yet I cannot abide what, for me, smacks of hyprocrisy. I have summarily unsubscribed from your media across all platforms. It doesn’t matter whether you or a small Circle of Wine Writers think this matter is closed, because as long as the much wider, global circle of wine writers, winemakers, wine readers and wine lovers thinks you smell like bad fish, you will smell like bad fish.
Natalie MacLean: World’s Best Wine Writer or Content Thief?, by Palate Press
Natalie MacLean Tells A Lie, by W. Blake Gray
Controversy swirls over popular Ottawa wine writer’s alleged misuse of others’ work, from the Ottawa Citizen