Update (September 13): Possibly as an attempt to mend her reputation after heavy criticism last week, MTL Blog writer Emily Draicchio appears to have changed her byline on the website — the author page for “Emily Draicchio”. Instead, the byline “Emily D” has appeared, with all of Draicchio’s previous articles being transferred over to this new pseudonym, and its corresponding author page.
Local content aggregator MTL Blog is under fire from the owners of forthcoming Little Italy Thai counter Epicerie Pumpui, after the site published misinformation about the restaurant, which was followed up by suggesting the owners pay for coverage from MTL Blog.
It started a week ago, when MTL Blog writer Emily Draicchio wrote up Pumpui, describing it erroneously as an Indian restaurant, and using stock photos that didn’t accurately represent chef Jesse Mulder’s food. Mulder has never worked with Indian cuisine, and has firmly established himself as a Thai chef with pop-up restaurant and delivery service Chak Wow over the last five years.
Co-owner Jesse Massumi posted the article to Facebook, calling it “wildly inaccurate” and a “mess”. Epicerie Pumpui also contacted MTL Blog asking for the article to be taken down. It was removed promptly, but that was only the start.
Massumi received an email from Draicchio, which he published Tuesday night. The email calls his Facebook post “offensive”, noting that “I didn’t mean any harm”. Massumi’s Facebook post and later comments, while blunt, didn’t contain any personal slurs.
Dracchio said the major errors were due to mistakes by other sources (although no sources were cited in the article). She named review site Resto MTL as a source of the bad information, but there’s no trace of Epicerie Pumpui ever having been mentioned on that site, and Massumi says Resto MTL never contacted him or his co-owners.
But after Draicchio’s explanation, things get weird, as she suggests Pumpui’s owners contact MTL Blog’s sales team for a replacement story — at a cost of $2,500 and up, “depending on your objectives”. Such articles typically carry a small “sponsored content” tag on MTL Blog.
Speaking to Eater, Massumi said it was an odd response.
“It was I thought it was pretty surprising that they reacted that way, it was pretty telling of their entire business model, to blatantly write back and offer a $2,500 sponsored article.”
He said that despite the fact that MTL Blog initially made the error, they were not forthcoming with any kind of apology.
“It was surprising to have a completely unapologetic response to the point where they don’t see anything wrong with stealing other people’s content.”
Massumi said that after the article was taken down, there was no talk of correcting the errors and republishing, with the blog instead moving directly to asking for money for a replacement post.
“I think she thought she was being smart or funny and throwing it back in our face,” said Mulder.
Eater reached out to Emily Draicchio for her side of the story, but has not yet received a reply.
Fuck No MTL, an Instagram and long-running Tumblr account specializing in photos of garbage on the street and the occasional polemic, took to Pumpui’s outrage. They uploaded a flurry of Instagram posts and stories criticising MTL Blog, noting that Draicchio’s behaviour was egregious enough to warrant a break in their usual policy of ignoring MTL Blog.
ETA MTLbleh emailed him to call this post 'offensive' and offer to create more content for $2500 you can't make this stuff up (and if you did, you'd get better storytellers). . Breaking our famous silence re MTLBlech just for this great little look at what happens when bad content happens to good restaurants. It's almost like... we're all worse off when a blog launches on the backs of talented/trained local writers/bloggers/photographers and values SEO and un-researched Top 10 lists more than paying people to string together a single compelling (or factually correct) sentence? Maybe? Anyway, back to radio silence. And you can check out @eater Montreal to actually read a piece on @pumpuimontreal that does not include the tag 'Ready to spice up your life!' #mtlmoments #correctionsdepartment #thaifood #pumpui
Fuck No MTL wrote a rare blog post which got to the heart of the issue: whether or not Draicchio intended her email to say so, it implied that the only way to ensure accurate coverage of one’s business or project on MTL Blog was to pay for that coverage.
Hey, if you want accurate information, you’ve got to pay. The joke goes ‘You had one job!’ but maybe that is not her job at all.
The backlash has even been enough to bring MTL Blog parody Sooo MTL back from the dead with a satirical article about Epicerie Pumpui — read that over here.