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Mike Isabella and Partners Sued for "Extraordinary'" Sexual Harrassment

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A third interpretation of the article:

Above:  one interpretation is that it shamed Isabella:  A second suggested it noted that Isabella “isn’t dead yet”

My read was that it was a Style piece, somewhat gossipy, as many Style pieces are, as they often write about celebrities, and in that vogue, was reporting on the current “status” of his restaurants in light of the well publicized news and the current focus related to the #metoomovement

I didn’t read it as editorializing or shaming, nor did I interpret as a status report on the health of his restaurants;  merely as a “what’s going on now” follow up 

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12 hours ago, Ericandblueboy said:

What does he deserve?  Be a pauper for sexual harassment?  His investors should go down too for shitty due diligence or oversight?  Why isn’t a judgement for the women he harassed sufficient?  

Let’s say I punched you and you sued me.  Everyone else should boycott my business because I punched you?

HE deserves the consequences of his actions. He sexually harasses people (still to be proven in a court of law, I will grant you, but the body of evidence is mounting). He condones a sexually harassing work environment. He deserves whatever punishments come his way if all is proven - monetary damages, time in jail if warranted/proven, and certainly damage to his reputation and yes, that of his businesses.

His investors know what they got in to when investing with and in him. If they did not, shame on them for crappy initial and ongoing due diligence. Invsting is not a no-risk thing, if they wanted that, invest in US Treasuries or keep the cash under their mattress.

I do not think people should or even can force people to stop eating at his restaurants. People do and will continue to go. Others will not. Others will let others know about the mounting evidence of his actions and I see no problem with that at all. Some people do not follow the food/restaurant/drinks industry at all and might be horrified by this guy's actions and history of behavior. And yes, some may decide to no longer patronize his restaurants. Others may not care - but there is no harm in informing people of information.

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12 hours ago, Ericandblueboy said:

I think the woman who asked people why they ate at Mike’s restaurants notwithstanding the sexual harassment allegation is shaming those people.  I wasn’t there so I don’t know what she asked or her tone of voice.

Why is Bruner Yang still in business because he physically assaulted someone and was arrested in a domestic violence incident?  Why are his restaurants the hottest joints in town?  

BY was also accused by his partners of misappropriating money.

It’s a fair point that the author shouldn’t be shaming customers. Why I go or not go to a restaurant isn’t really a journalists’ business, unless I want it to be their business.

At the same time, I’m just wondering.. even as the evidence mounts, even as we learn more that this likely a pattern not a one-off, what’s the motivation to continue to defend him, or if not defend him, then have great concern about his future career and business prospects?

Maybe concern about hundreds of years of poor treatment of women at the hands of terrible people (I didn’t say men, on purpose. April Bloomfield at The Spotted Pig let this type of crap go for a long time, and I’m sure she’s not the only woman) should trump the concern of this man’s future income potential?

Its not good. It’s really not good. So many nurses, female medical students, and other female health care staff got treated like this at the hospital for decades. If one doctor (or many doctors) goes down for this type of behavior and loses his reputation/career over it, I’m okay with it. I wonder why it’s different when we are talking about an even more vulnerable group of people. 

Not to continually have conflict about this - E - we clearly have different opinions and many people very much agree with you - but I’m just having a hard time understanding why there is a worry about his future, his businesses, and his investors. Is that the real issue? Maybe it is. I just don’t see it that way. I’m open to hearing why this is the pressing issue.

Maybe you’re right - maybe we shouldn’t “be all in someone’s business” these days ... but maybe that what it takes to expose people that take advantage of the powerless? 

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4 hours ago, DaveO said:

My read was that it was a Style piece, somewhat gossipy, as many Style pieces are, as they often write about celebrities, and in that vogue, was reporting on the current “status” of his restaurants in light of the well publicized news and the current focus related to the #metoomovement

I didn’t read it as editorializing or shaming, nor did I interpret as a status report on the health of his restaurants;  merely as a “what’s going on now” follow up 

This was how I read it, too.

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On 4/12/2018 at 9:04 PM, Ericandblueboy said:

People are still eating at Mike Isabella’s restaurants, by Vittoria Elliott for Washingtonian.

Not only do I object to this as the premise for an article, but she wasn't even particularly successful at being able to speak to anyone. What was left was a few conversations at Graffiato, and then several paragraphs of navel gazing and casting judgment. I don't blame the author for submitting what was essentially a failure of an idea, but an editor with some self respect would have spiked this story.

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On 4/14/2018 at 11:18 AM, Pool Boy said:

His investors know what they got in to when investing with and in him. If they did not, shame on them for crappy initial and ongoing due diligence. Invsting is not a no-risk thing, if they wanted that, invest in US Treasuries or keep the cash under their mattress.

I do not think people should or even can force people to stop eating at his restaurants. People do and will continue to go. Others will not. Others will let others know about the mounting evidence of his actions and I see no problem with that at all. Some people do not follow the food/restaurant/drinks industry at all and might be horrified by this guy's actions and history of behavior. And yes, some may decide to no longer patronize his restaurants. Others may not care - but there is no harm in informing people of information.

Ironically, the plaintiff is a investor and she was allegedly one of the "bros" for 3 years.  I've always wondered how that plays into a sexual harassment case.  For example, let's suppose 2 people willingly engage in S&M practices, surely one cannot charge the other with abuse later?  I wonder if this defense works in a sexual harassment case.  And if so, it would be even more ironic that she gets nothing, his business goes down, and they both end up paupers.

On 4/14/2018 at 12:04 PM, Simul Parikh said:

At the same time, I’m just wondering.. even as the evidence mounts, even as we learn more that this likely a pattern not a one-off, what’s the motivation to continue to defend him, or if not defend him, then have great concern about his future career and business prospects?

Maybe you’re right - maybe we shouldn’t “be all in someone’s business” these days ... but maybe that what it takes to expose people that take advantage of the powerless? 

To be clear, I'm not defending Isabella, nor am I concerned about his future career or business prospects.  I'm more concerned about who are we to determine what is fair and equitable punishment?  Is tax cheating worthy of boycotting and shaming?  Is domestic violence worthy of boycotting and shaming?  Is DUI  worthy of boycotting and shaming?  Why isn't a judgment sufficient punishment?  In a criminal case, if the person serves his time, he supposedly has paid his dues.  In fact, we encourage the hiring of ex-convicts.  

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If any current or former employee will send me a copy of the non-disclosure agreement, I give you my word that you will remain anonymous, and I will not discuss any part of it without your explicit permission. I have not broken my word, to anyone, about anything, in 13 years (today is our 13th anniversary). :)

donrockwell@dcdining.com

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5 hours ago, Ericandblueboy said:

Ironically, the plaintiff is a investor and she was allegedly one of the "bros" for 3 years.  I've always wondered how that plays into a sexual harassment case.  For example, let's suppose 2 people willingly engage in S&M practices, surely one cannot charge the other with abuse later?  I wonder if this defense works in a sexual harassment case.  And if so, it would be even more ironic that she gets nothing, his business goes down, and they both end up paupers.

To be clear, I'm not defending Isabella, nor am I concerned about his future career or business prospects.  I'm more concerned about who are we to determine what is fair and equitable punishment?  Is tax cheating worthy of boycotting and shaming?  Is domestic violence worthy of boycotting and shaming?  Is DUI  worthy of boycotting and shaming?  Why isn't a judgment sufficient punishment?  In a criminal case, if the person serves his time, he supposed has paid his dues.  In fact, we encourage the hiring of ex-convicts.  

That makes sense. It's a value judgement, I guess. I think media shaming has a purpose.

For example, Zuck at Facebook should be getting crushed by the media (really getting tired of the "well, we were made in a dorm room and grew too fast" excuse for everything they do wrong), but because he champions liberal causes (that I support), he gets treated with kid gloves. Annoying.... 

1. Tax cheats are worthy of shaming. Not victimless. Sheer evil. I pay my share. You should too. I despise this. A doc we worked nearby got nailed for $800k in back taxes. Asked me to come and speak at trial as a character witness. I declined. Certain professions have higher standards. Maryland took his medical license. I'm ok with that. That's a legit example of "shaming" b/c the Maryland Medical Board is other physicians and lawyers making a judgement, not a criminal penalty.

2. Domestic violence- yah. That's some power / control stuff that I condemn. Not victimless. Don't hit your partner. Pretty simple. 

3. DUI - complex as it's pretty clearly reflecting addiction (I.e. The overwhelming majority of people that have one DUI have a problem. If you have two, you're overwhelmingly likely to be an addict). Unless there's an accident, it's victimless. High earning professionals have diversion programs while poor people don't have access to similar solutions. One DUI - I wouldn't shame you. 2, I'd encourage rehab and taking a step back from things. But you may get shamed and lose your MD license over this. 

Difference between 1/2 vs 3 - 3 reflects addiction (likely), while 1/2 are typically shitty humans. 

We "encourage" hiring of convicts .. But do we actually hire them? We don't exactly prefer them, all things being equal...

 

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I finally read this article and, more or less, agree with ad.mich. The premise for this was pretty thin. I didn't really think it was shaming beyond the initial premise, for whatever that's worth. Interpreting the comment about "I don't know anymore" [sic] as someone hiding knowledge seemed prejudicial.  That could be someone who noticed there was some kind of fuss but never checked into what it was.

To some extent this seems like an inside baseball kind of thing for the restaurant industry. People who really follow this stuff can't figure out how other people don't know the details.

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6 hours ago, Ericandblueboy said:

Ironically, the plaintiff is a investor and she was allegedly one of the "bros" for 3 years.  I've always wondered how that plays into a sexual harassment case.  For example, let's suppose 2 people willingly engage in S&M practices, surely one cannot charge the other with abuse later?  I wonder if this defense works in a sexual harassment case.  And if so, it would be even more ironic that she gets nothing, his business goes down, and they both end up paupers.

To be clear, I'm not defending Isabella, nor am I concerned about his future career or business prospects.  I'm more concerned about who are we to determine what is fair and equitable punishment?  Is tax cheating worthy of boycotting and shaming?  Is domestic violence worthy of boycotting and shaming?  Is DUI  worthy of boycotting and shaming?  Why isn't a judgment sufficient punishment?  In a criminal case, if the person serves his time, he supposed has paid his dues.  In fact, we encourage the hiring of ex-convicts.  

First bolded item - I have not read everything about the suit but was not aware she was one of the investors. Interesting. That said, is there a difference between sexually harassing an employee versus sexually harassing an investor (and employee/co-worker?)? Nope. Especially given the ever growing body of evidence.

2nd and 3rd bolded items - We make judgements about things and people all the time. We get to boycott who we want to for whatever reason we want to. Society has ways of dealing with this legally in the courts from civil suits to criminal litigation. These are the legal remedies. Just because there is a legal remedy, well, it does not mean we all agree with the outcome of said legal remedy and we get to vote with our thoughts, communications and especially our dollars. That last bit is up to each one of up to decide what is the type of response we want to give or take. You may disagree and consider the society legal/suit route sufficient. Others may have different opinions and perspectives.

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It’s the way of the world today.  The internet, social media, and endless opportunities to expand coverage potentially makes everyone vulnerable to exposure.  So be it.  More reason to not do the things of which he is accused.

I’m biased in favor of the #metoomovement and against abuse.  But I’m not the judge or jury.   Others are going to hear this case if it’s not privately arbitrated and settled.   I’m also not telling others what to do.  I also did not see the article shaming or blaming him.  It was reporting on a celebrity on a current case.  That isn’t a big deal.  Not unusual, celebrities have been in the news for as long as there has been news.

Frankly I’m not going to hypothesize on the consequences either.   Additionally I doubt I’ve seen a time period where there have been as many employment opportunities in the DC food world as there is now.

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1 hour ago, Ericandblueboy said:

1 down.  How many more to go?

In reality this doesn't move me at all.  The theory is worth considering, but our "civilized" system that operated in the past...say limiting an issue to the courts is now, thanks to the internet and social media subject to wider responses from the wider population.   Good or bad...I guess time will tell. 

Sort of interesting but WashPo had an article today or in the last few days about the virtual complete abandonment of Trump licensed products--from a massive effort to almost nothing available these days.  Article  In his case per the article and the financials he had to submit, at max he was making $2.4 million just by licensing--now it looks to be almost nothing.  The article references a variety of reasons for that, including over saturation, but we understand other reasons why that occurred.

Actions have consequences. 

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18 hours ago, dcs said:

Crisis Communication Pro Says Mike Isabella is Botching Public Relations, by Laura Hayes, April 19, 2018, on washingtoncitypaper.com, complete with Don Rockwell citation.

Call me a powder-puff, but I do not hate Mike Isabella.

(And, thanks to a member who shall remain unnamed, until/unless he gives me permission to name him, we broke that story over a day before Washingtonian - people mistakenly assume it was the same day; it wasn't, and I was ... stunned at how quiet the internet was (I wouldn't bother saying this if Washingtonian would have simply cited their former Wine Columnist - geez, really? - instead, I'll say: Thank you to both David Hagedorn (who assigned me both maximum credit and maximum risk!) and Laura Hayes)).

To be honest, I wasn't really thinking about all this hullabaloo when I tweeted about the closure.

To the internet: In 14+ years, I haven't made a single mistake  - if I say something without any hedging, it has been vetted.

I'd like to thank Hillary Clinton for bringing the word "vetted" back into popular usage. 

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I thought he said it was free of sexual harassment.  🙄

I expected settlement as soon as Isabella saw how the bad publicity is affecting his business. 

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On 5/7/2018 at 9:44 AM, Ericandblueboy said:

I thought he said it was free of sexual harassment.  🙄

I expected settlement as soon as Isabella saw how the bad publicity is affecting his business. 

When you settle, it is pretty much admitting guilt. Pretty much.

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11 hours ago, Pool Boy said:

When you settle, it is pretty much admitting guilt. Pretty much.

You also leave the door open for future, similar lawsuits from others - a "judgment for the defendant" verdict would have all-but slammed that door shut.

I can see making a small settlement to dispense with a "nuisance" lawsuit, but this was a mortal threat to the company - the settlement is a short-term victory (otherwise, they wouldn't have made it), but if there are others waiting in the wings, it might act as an incentive.

(Of course, the problem with going to court is that, even if you are completely innocent, you might still lose the case - going to court is a *massive* pain in the ass, and the only ones who always win are the attorneys.)

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11 hours ago, Pool Boy said:

When you settle, it is pretty much admitting guilt. Pretty much.

The world of litigation is way too complex to make sweeping statements like this.

Often, it is pretty much admitting guilt as you say.  Just as often, it's to avoid litigation even when you're 99.9% sure that you'll prevail in court.  Going to trial is painfully expensive.  The discovery process is even worse than that.  Big companies settle all the time for financial, risk mitigation, and other reasons.

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On 5/8/2018 at 10:26 PM, Pool Boy said:

When you settle, it is pretty much admitting guilt. Pretty much.

This is almost always incorrect.  Your insurer generally has the right to settle whether you want to or not.  Liability obviously factors into the insurer's valuation of a case, but it is only one consideration.  Often, litigation costs factor in more.  Even at insurance defense rates, this type of litigation will cost the insurer anywhere between $200k to over seven figures to get to a defense verdict.  The insurer wants to discourage nuisance suits and plaintiffs always start out with an overly optimistic idea of what a case is worth, so most cases will get pretty far along before settlement is even a possibility.  But, after a point, if the insurer knows that the remainder of the litigation will cost more than the plaintiff wants to settle the case, it will settle.  And that settlement is nothing more than a business transaction.

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