Embattled beer baron takes on BBC — Analysis

BrewDog’s James Watt is pursuing legal action over documentary harassment claims and how the BBC obtained its information

Scottish beer baron James Watt has said he is taking legal action against the BBC to protect his “reputation,” in the wake of a documentary aired by the British broadcaster in which he was accused of inappropriate behavior. 

The BBC’s ‘Disclosure’ documentary, which aired on Monday, brought a number of allegations to light, including some concerning Watt’s relationship with female staff. The program featured more than fifteen former BrewDog employees speaking out against Watt. Former US staff claimed that he had made female workers feel uncomfortable. “uncomfortable” “powerless.”

Katelynn Ising, a former employee at BrewDog’s flagship bar and brewery in Canal Winchester, Ohio, said that female staff would dress down to avoid unwelcome attention from the Scot, adding: “We would make a point to warn new girls.” 

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Further claims made in the BBC film include the apparent revelation that Watt had invested £500,000 in rival Dutch brewing company Heineken, and it also questioned the integrity of BrewDog’s plans to be “carbon negative.”

Scotsman has previously criticised craft beer businesses for working alongside alcohol giants like Heineken.

“We are also considering raising additional proceedings on the publication of private personal financial information that we believe may have been obtained by underhand means. The BBC have refused to tell us how they obtained the private personal financial information,”The Telegraph was informed by the CEO of BrewDog.

He stated that legal proceedings were being initiated on the basis “false and defamatory” claims. Watt told The Telegraph that Watt regretted making his US staff feel uneasy.

Watt apologized last year after employees complained about a toxic culture at work and bullying. The CEO was also implicated.

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