Response to programme

BrewDog boss complains to BBC over ‘hatchet job’

James Watt BrewDog
James Watt: ‘claims are false’ (pic: Terry Murden)

BrewDog boss James Watt is lodging an official complaint with the BBC and the regulator Ofcom, claiming a recent documentary on the company and his behaviour was a ‘hatchet job’ containing dozens of inaccuracies and false claims.

Mr Watt, founder and CEO of the Aberdeenshire business, was accused in the BBC Disclosures programme The Truth About BrewDog of unacceptable behaviour with females at the breweries, which he denies.

However, in a blog in which he tells of the devastating impact of the documentary on his family and the company’s staff, he says nothing about taking legal action which he threatened before it was transmitted last month.

Instead, he says: “We are lodging an official complaint with the BBC and the regulator Ofcom for the dozens of inaccuracies and false claims contained in the programme. We cannot simply stay quiet and allow these to go unchallenged – that isn’t the BrewDog way.”

He says that he again watched the programme alone, concluding: “This was simply not the BrewDog I know and love. It was a malicious caricature, based largely on untruths. I utterly refute the characterisation of me as well.

“The most direct claim against me was that I stared at someone. But it was laced it with so much innuendo and smear that they got their desired effect and now, thousands of people, all over social media, were calling me some of the worst things imaginable.

“For the last eight months the waves of attack on our business have been pretty relentless. I feel terrible for our team to have to endure this for most of the last year. For that, I am sorry to our team and our community.”

He adds: “To have the world at large falsely accuse you of terrible things is soul destroying. I am really concerned about the impact that this documentary has already had on our fantastic people. I am crushed by how this program has impacted my family.

“And the abuse our social media and our customer service teams have received is simply extraordinary. To them I apologise and thank them for their stoicism in the face of this storm.”

The documentary made allegations about Mr Watt taking visitors on brewery tours.

“I often take friends, colleagues, business partners, and yes, sometimes dates, on brewery tours,” he says. “In Columbus [brewery in Ohio], we designed and built from scratch one of the world’s most beautiful breweries. It is something I am very proud of and I love to share it with as many people as I can.

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“Yet here I was getting torn to pieces on national TV for dating and giving tours of the brewery we built. The ‘staring’ allegation made by one person is simply ridiculous.”

He says the programme claimed that some people felt uncomfortable around him. “If that has been the case, then of course and I deeply regret that they did, that was never my intention and the last thing I would want,” he says.

“I am trying hard to be more mindful of the impact I have on our team. Furthermore, I have been in touch with the entire team to let them know if anyone wants to speak to me directly about how I can have a more positive impact across our business please reach out and I am very open to the conversation and the feedback.”

Following the introduction of feedback procedures for the firm’s 2,400 employees Mr Watt says he will speak to any team member that wants to chat about anything related to the documentary.

Meanwhile, there is growing talk in corporate finance circles that the planned £2bn IPO of the business may have to be further postponed with some suggesting it could only go ahead if Mr Watt stepped aside.

 



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