As some of you may be aware a number of accusations have been made in a public post on the Supper Club Fan Group Ning blog.
Unfortunately, I am unable to respond directly, as my membership of the site has been suspended. With my right of reply revoked, I have decided to respond on my personal blog instead. I have been fully transparent in all of my discussions in this matter and have nothing to hide.
The first point I would like to make is that I am a Junior Account Director, so any suggestion that I am inexperienced in public relations is inaccurate.
The second point I would like to clarify is that I did not find the supper clubs I’m currently working with through the Supper Club Fan Group .
I have been an active member of the food community in a personal capacity for nearly two years now and have built relationships with many supper clubs, through social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook. I have even been fortunate enough to have become friends with a number of supper club owners. This was long before I became aware of the Supper Club Fan Group which I only found out about when the site’s founder introduced me to it at a Supper club event last November.
Wanting to combine my passions, I had thought carefully about how I could help add value to the supper club movement and support supper club owners at a grassroots level in my professional capacity as a PR. I had explained to the founder of the fans of supper club site when I met her again in January that, I did not need her to act as gatekeeper for or to introduce me to the supper club community. I had already drawn up a shortlist of potential clubs to support through my personal contacts and research, however, that I would like to couple this activity with sponsorship of the Supper Club Fan Group site. Unfortunately costs were higher than initially expected and we were not able reach an agreement.
I also asked her if she would contribute tips from her book to the company supper club microsite (anticipating a licence fee may be payable) and also asked if we could link to the site. Linking to the supper club website was declined, which we respected, and I withdrew my request re the book extract.
And that, as far as I thought, was the end of the negotiations, which was a disappointment as it could have been a very good collaboration.
As I understand the situation, an automated update from one of our supper club partners then appeared on the Supper Club Fan Group and included a reference to my client and appears to have been the catalyst for Sunday’s post. I can only apologise if it did infringe the rules of the site – however, neither I nor my company or client were aware that the update would appear and it was beyond our control.
The post which was subsequently posted on the Supper Club Fan Group blog was a real shock.
The personal accusations that have been levelled at me, my client and company are completely unjustified and have been very distressing, which is why I wanted to explain the history.
I’d also like to take the time to thank my wonderful friends in the food community who have all been very supportive and helped me keep my chin up over what has been an upsetting and demoralising few days.
One thing I have learnt is that a right of reply is extremely important, public disputes are rarely as they seem and while I don’t expect to change this person’s opinion of me, I would ask that people do take the time to read both sides of the story before deciding whether or not to comment, as these comments are incredibly hurtful.