Saturday 18 November 2017

Top Irish model Yomiko and her businessman partner sue website over bad review

Yomiko Chen models a hair creation by stylist Gemma Crossan, of Hot Head salon, Sligo at the Alfaparf Fantastic Hairdresser Awards at the Double Tree Hotel Hotel, Dublin. Photo : Kieran Clancy
Yomiko Chen models a hair creation by stylist Gemma Crossan, of Hot Head salon, Sligo at the Alfaparf Fantastic Hairdresser Awards at the Double Tree Hotel Hotel, Dublin. Photo : Kieran Clancy
Duiske Kilkenny glasses from Tipperary Crystal
(L to R) Sarah Morrissey, Nadia Forde, Yomiko Chen and Lynn Kelly attend Nadia Forde’s birthday party at House Leeson St. Picture: Richie Stokes

Robin Schiller

Model Yomiko Chen and her businessman fiance Iain Conway have issued a lawsuit against a website in which Irish rugby star Jamie Heaslip is a stakeholder.

The civil case regards a highly critical review of the couple's restaurant posted on the Lovin' Dublin website.

The pair claim that since the review was posted their business has suffered "massively" and on Friday, December 19, they issued an interlocutory mandatory injunction.

The court-ordered injunction meant the "scathing" article had to be removed from all forms of social media.

Mr Heaslip has no involvement with the content of the website's reviews and is himself a shareholder in a Dublin establishment called Bear.

However, the injunction was not fulfilled to the website's "best endeavours" according to the couple's solicitor, and on December 22 defamation papers were issued to Lovin' Dublin.

Iain Conway and Yomiko Chen
Iain Conway and Yomiko Chen

The lawsuit stems from a review of the Kokoro Sushi Bento restaurant on South William Street in Dublin's city centre by Niall Harbison. Mr Conway took particular grievance with the fact that despite Mr Harbison not sampling the establishment's cuisine, he still opted to critique the food.

"The one thing that really hurt me was the headline. I've been in this business for 15 years and I've never read a headline of a review like that," Mr Conway told the Herald.

"We've been critiqued for years and some are good and some are bad, but even with the bad reviews there are still good points. This one was just a complete hatchet job.

"What I don't understand is that, in the article, he [Mr Harbison] admitted that he hadn't tried the food, so how can it be justified writing a review and a particular headline like the one that was written?" he added.

The controversial article came just months after Mr Harbison gave the couple's other Sushi restaurant on Lower Liffey Street a positive review, which Mr Conway claims used the exact same products and methods as his South William Street establishment.

The blogger found himself at the receiving end of online criticism last summer after he made derogatory remarks about local youths while dining at a restaurant in the Grand Canal Dock area.

In his food review he wrote: "100s of people would sit outside happily supping pints and watching k*****rs play their favourite sport of bridge jumping wearing wet suits. It really is amazing how long the little b******s can keep themselves entertained jumping into water and how the local crime rates plunge when they are all busy having their annual wash."

Harbison was forced to apologise for the offensive comments, and several contributors to Lovin' Dublin asked to be disassociated with the website as a result.

(L to R) Sarah Morrissey, Nadia Forde, Yomiko Chen and Lynn Kelly attend Nadia Forde’s birthday party at House Leeson St. Picture: Richie Stokes
(L to R) Sarah Morrissey, Nadia Forde, Yomiko Chen and Lynn Kelly attend Nadia Forde’s birthday party at House Leeson St. Picture: Richie Stokes

The legal battle comes just as the couple announced the happy news that they are engaged, with Conway proposing to the Assets model Yomiko Chen last week.

The two weren't the only star couple to get engaged, with former Dublin star Eamon Fennell proposing to his girlfriend Fiona Creely. The footballer tweeted on New Years Day: "She said yes. Going to marry the love of my life".

rschiller@herald.ie

Herald

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