Earlier this week I wrote the article, “Seabourn Cruise Line Has Been Sold!*”. The attorneys for Seabourn responded with threats of claims for “defamation, every claim available under securities laws, RICO [Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act] violations, and the like” along with a Cease and Desist Letter demanding – as they did when I wrote the now admitted accurate article, “Seabourn Cruise Line is, IN FACT, for Sale” – that I remove my journalistic and opinion article.
To quote Shakespeare, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”
Now, just as with my article “Seabourn Cruise Line is, IN FACT, for Sale”, I did not create, fabricate, embellish, etc. anything. All I did was report what an identified third party either published or told me. But, with painful consistency, Seabourn did not make demands of the people that published or provided the information, but rather Seabourn only attacked me. Curious, isn’t it!?
My response to all that was pretty simple, and I believe a fair, responsible, and measured rebuttal. As with the original article, I did not create or otherwise fabricate a single fact, but rather journalistically reported what was communicated to me. Hence, I responded, in relevant part:
[R]ather than the behemoth Carnival Corp. continuing the threaten a single travel agent – and we know the focus of your client is to silence and put Goldring/Goldring Travel out of business – might the proper manner in which to address the situation be for Seabourn/Carnival Corp. to (1) simply publish a public statement stating that Seabourn has not been sold to the Saudis (or anyone else) and/or (2) address the alleged misinformation with the Saudi Tourism Authority? The fact that such a statement and action have not been taken leads to a very logical and rational conclusion that the article is accurate, proviso or not.
It is of worthy note that your client and your firm chose not to put out a statement and, apparently, chose not to challenge the Saudi Tourism Authority; deciding instead not to mitigate the alleged harm, but to continue its attack on Goldring/Goldring Travel. Why were those two obvious efforts not undertaken? If those actions were undertaken and the information was determined to be false, Goldring/Goldring Travel would not hesitate to amend the article and/or write a new one.
By the way, Seabourn – who has advised everyone at Seabourn, Holland America, Cunard, and Princess that they are not to communicate with me (and which I have respected) – complains that I am wrong because I didn’t ask Seabourn its position before I wrote my article. Well, actually, I did. I immediately mentioned it to a Director of Seabourn who was attending the same conference…and then I waited days and received no response from Seabourn.
Seabourn also claims that my source is unidentified. Huh? Seabourn was at the same conference and has the same list of attendees as everyone else. Let me help them out…and reassert the credibility of those I spoke with: The Saudi Tourism Authority attendees are clearly listed as the Head of Trade and Market Director.
Let’s now consider that Seabourn has not asserted anything that I said in my article is untrue. The only thing Seabourn complains of is the title of the article (notably without the prominent asterisk). Seabourn doesn’t claim that I have inaccurately stated (a) I was advised Seabourn was sold; (b) there are a number of factors that lead me to believe that advice is accurate; or, (c) that it is possible the Saudi’s gave me misinformation, but I think the probability is very low.
So hopefully, I have addressed – and published – Seabourn’s lawyers’ objection to my article and, with an even hand, explained my concerns that:
Now, a bit of an litigation update: After the initial discussion of Seabourn’s dispute with me and Goldring Travel, I have tried to avoid writing much about it because, let’s face it, it isn’t terribly relevant to most people. Yes, it is a sad and frustratingly unnecessary conflict that Seabourn decided to create and escalate – with its goal (or is that its president, Josh Leibowitz’s goal?) clearly to harass, injure me, and eventually drive me out of the business. Hence, it is especially unfortunate that Seabourn and its attorneys are so focused on inflicting pain on me that they have lost focus.
I have said for decades that most lawyers are focused on arguing only the facts that support their position when, in reality, a lawyer should consider all of the facts and understand who they apply to all possible positions. It is why, in large part, I have tried to exit the practice of law…but here I am.
Unfortunately, Seabourn is, with wild inaccuracy, transfixed on the concept that I will do anything to shift business from Seabourn. Leaving aside the obvious concept of, “Why would I encourage someone to book a cruise I can’t get paid for, but others with equal or better product that I will?” the reality is that I continue to support the sale of Seabourn cruises to anyone that wants to sail with it. As always, I offer my clients options and opinions about everything from product to itinerary to service, etc. As my clients are well aware, I have never engaged in a mutual “blacklist”. In fact, to this day, I would recommend Seabourn over certain competitive lines such as Viking and others.
And I remain supportive of well over $1,000,000 in Seabourn cruises that I have secured for my clients, but whose bookings are – by Seabourn’s demands – being handled by others.
So with that, I again reassert that based upon what has been said to me and Seabourn’s failure to make a public statement or complain to those that provided me with the information, that Seabourn has actually been sold or, possibly, the deal is almost done. For if there was not deal or finalization of a deal, why won’t Seabourn do either of those things?
It is a fair question and I am, again, asking it!