An Israeli woman who complained on Facebook about a pizza she purchased from the local pizzeria, using the word “yuck,” to describe it, was slapped with a NIS 18,000 ($5,000) fine.
A judge in the Nazareth Magistrate’s Court found that the woman, a resident of a small town in the north, had defamed the owner of the pizza establishment in her town, damaging his reputation and causing him financial loss, Hadashot TV news reported Thursday.
According to the report, the owner of the store and his wife had built up a thriving business, but were forced to sell due to the woman’s post.
During the incident, six months ago, the defendant ordered a NIS 50 ($14) pizza pie over the phone, but when she came to pick it up it was not ready.
“She was very agitated and indignant that the pizza was not ready,” the plaintiff told Hadashot news. “I made sure to give her eight toppings and tomatoes as she had requested. I decided to compensate her so that she would be satisfied.”
Shortly afterward, the woman called to complain that the pizza was inedible and soggy, and that she would never buy from the store again.
“I explained to her that the tomatoes naturally gave off moisture,” the plaintiff said. “I told her I’d make her a new pizza and she could come and get it. She asked me to send it to her. I said if she came I would give her another pizza or refund her money.”
Instead, the woman took to Facebook, posting an image of the pizza, saying it was inedible, that the onion had not been peeled and that she had discovered a hair on the olives, ending with the hashtag “#yuck.”
The owner claimed that the information she posted was knowingly false. In her defense the woman said that she had not intended to harm the business, and that she believed everything she wrote was true.
As a result of her post, which was widely shared and commented on, fewer customers came to the pizzeria, ultimately forcing the owner to sell the business, he said.
He sued for NIS 100,000, and the judge ruled in his favor, ordering the woman to pay NIS 15,000 and a further NIS 3,000 in court costs.
The woman subsequently deleted the post.
Welcoming the decision, the plaintiff said it wasn’t about the money but about the principle.
“If she would have come to court and asked for forgiveness and apologized, I would have withdrawn the claim,” he said. “I hope that people will learn a lesson and will not rush to destroy businesses and people with offensive posts. You have to understand that Facebook is very powerful. It’s not a children’s game.”