'A malicious caricature, based largely on untruths:' James Watt files official complaint about BBC documentary, 'The Truth About BrewDog'

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BrewDog CEO James Watt is lodging an official complaint against the BBC and Ofcom for the recent documentary about the company, which he has called  'a hatchet job' full of inaccuracies and false claims.

The BBC documentary 'The Truth About BrewDog' accused James Watt, founder and CEO of the company, of unacceptable behaviour with women at the breweries. Allegations he has vehemently denied.

The documentary was created after the BBC Scotland Disclosure team began investigating the company in light of the Punks with Purpose movement, whereby 300 former and current Brewdog employees signed a letter last year accusing Mr Watt of presiding over "a toxic culture of fear," and following which the company has undertaken a series of measures to rehaul its internal practices.

'I utterly refute the characterisation of me'

'The Truth About BrewDog' documentary told the history of the company, about its start and rapid expansion, and contained a number of allegations against the company leader.

Former Brewdog USA workers said Mr Watt's conduct made them feel "uncomfortable" and "powerless," and that female bartenders were advised by their managers and colleagues on how to avoid unwelcome attention from him.

The documentary also said Mr Watt took women on private late-night brewery tours, leaving staff feeling uncomfortable.

Mr Watt wrote a blog post on his LinkedIn, titled 'Reflections From a Difficult Fortnight,' about the devastating impact the documentary has had on his family and the company's staff.

He said, "We are lodging an official complaint with the BBC and the regulator Ofcom for the dozens of inaccuracies and false claims contained in the programme. We cannot simply stay quiet and allow these to go unchallenged – that isn’t the BrewDog way.”

Mr Watt described the program, as depicting "a malicious caricature, based largely on untruths" adding that “this was simply not the BrewDog I know and love." 

"I utterly refute the characterisation of me as well."

James Watt said that "for the last eight months, the waves of attack on our business have been pretty relentless" and that "I feel terrible for our team to have to endure this for most of the last year. For that, I am sorry to our team and our community."

Reflecting on the accusations and challenges levelled against him and the company as a whole, he said: "It is my priority to ensure we build the best business possible for the benefit of our team, our customers and our shareholders. We have made some important strides here but we still have further to go."

He ended his statement by saying, "To have the world at large falsely accuse you of terrible things is soul-destroying. I am really concerned about the impact this documentary has already had on our fantastic people.

"I am crushed by how this programme has impacted my family and the abuse our social media and our customer service teams have received is simply extraordinary. To them, I apologise and thank them for their stoicism in the face of this storm.”

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 14th February 2022

'A malicious caricature, based largely on untruths:' James Watt files official complaint about BBC documentary, 'The Truth About BrewDog'