BrewDog to lodge official complaint with BBC over ‘malicious hatchet job’

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

BrewDog to lodge official complaint with BBC over ‘malicious hatchet job’ Disclosure documentary

Related tags Brewdog James watt Staff Bbc Pub & bar

BrewDog is to lodge an official complaint with the BBC and the regulator Ofcom over a recent documentary that the group's CEO claims contained 'dozens of inaccuracies and false claims'.

In a recent Disclosure ​documentary broadcast by BBC Scotland, BrewDog co-founder and CEO James Watt was accused of inappropriate behaviour towards women and abuse of power in the workplace​.

Last week in a blog posted published via his LinkedIn page​, Watt responded to the documentary and confirmed the group would be launching an official complaint against the state broadcaster.

He said: "We knew full well the documentary was never going to be anything other than the ‘malicious hatchet job’ our legal counsel described it as.

"Watching it, alone, in my office was savage. 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."

More than 15 former members of staff spoke out against Watt, with some claiming he made female bartenders feel 'uncomfortable'.

In the documentary, Katelynn Ising, who worked at a BrewDog bar in Ohio, US, claimed female staff would dress down when they knew that Watt would be in their bars.

She said: “We would make a point to warn new girls… like, ‘Hey, just so you know, James Watt’s coming to town. Just kind of, like, leave after your shift, don’t really hang around [and] don’t always do your hair and make-up that day, like don’t catch his attention’."

Watt said he was very concerned about the impact the documentary had had on BrewDog's team, and his family.

He said the business had made some important strides in improving its working practices, but recognised that it still had further to go.

BrewDog will continue with the action plan it built from its Wiser Independent Culture Review, which came about following the publication of a letter​ last year signed by nearly 300 former and current BrewDog staff that accused Watt of presiding over a toxic culture of fear​​.

It has so far launched an independently run anonymous ethics hotline; created an employee representative group; launched a new workplace code; and appointed an independent chairman – former Asda CEO Allan Leighton.

“Hopefully, by the end of 2022 I can look back on how what has been the most challenging two weeks of my life turned out to be a catalyst for creating an even better future for the team and our business,” he said.

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