Aftermath: Cooks Source debacle emerges as cautionary tale about provoking the internet

If you were awake on the internet yesterday, there’s no way you missed the compelling narrative of Monica Gaudio’s stolen “Tale of Two Tarts.”

Gaudio, a self professed “medieval food nerd,” posted the story of how a for-profit, ad-supported magazine Cooks Source stole an article she’d written about the history of apple pie for their print edition. To briefly recap, when Gaudio contacted the editor to express her dismay, a chain of events that set the internet justice machine into motion was set off that was pretty awesome to witness. The editor in question has not been seen since the vengeance of Fark, Reddit, Boing Boing and even some mainstream media readers was unleashed on their Facebook page. (MSNBC was the lone voice sympathetic to reviled editor Judith Griggs during the saga.)

While reaction was swift, it was also comprehensive. One advertiser for the small publication reports having been contacted over 100 times by angry internet citizens in the five hours from when the story first went viral. (The company immediately and publicly withdrew support from the magazine.) Web sleuths quickly deduced that Griggs has been sticky fingered for a long time, and that content has been stolen for the magazine from Food Network, Weight Watchers and NPR for starters. (Lifted images were found in print copies of Cooks Source as well, and the link above lists five definitive instances of items being reproduced in the magazine without permission.)

It seems Griggs really doesn’t understand the internet, because despite provoking its ire rapidly and thoroughly with a condescending attitude towarrds web content, she has seen fit to leave the following message up on her magazine’s Facebook page for over 12 hours at this point:

Well, here I am with egg on my face! I did apologise to Monica via email, but aparently it wasnt enough for her. To all of you, thank you for your interest in Cooks Source and Again, to Monica, I am sorry — my bad!

You did find a way to get your “pound of flesh…” we used to have 110 “friends,” we now have 1,870… wow!

Griggs has not spoken on her own behalf since her comment on Facebook, but you can read a fairly comprehensive timeline of events over here. Can anyone recover their career after a scandal that is so high profile? Does Griggs deserve any degree of a pass for her crippling ignorance?

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