NYC restaurateur Keith McNally has posted a photo of academic Dr. Margo Maine on Instagram, next to a caption referencing U.K. restaurant critic Marina O’Loughlin. When the image in question is run through reverse image search, the result returned is “senior citizen.” Let’s see that search history, Keith!
In the caption, McNally appears to imply that he is “outing” O’Loughlin, who is the last anonymous restaurant critic in U.K. national newspapers. He is not outing her, because the photo is of Dr. Margo Maine, not Marina O’Loughlin.
Anyway, he writes:
MARINA O’LOUGHLIN is the restaurant critic for London’s Sunday Times. Two months ago I began following O’Loughlin on Instagram. I followed her partly because I admired her writing, and partly because I was intrigued by O’Loughlin’s unspoken policy of only publishing comments by those who slavishly agreed with her. This was confirmed when the restaurant critic BLOCKED me for writing comments which failed to obediently agree with her.
CAMUS ONCE SAID THAT DEMOCRACY IS VALUED NOT WHAT IT ALLOWS, BUT FOR IT PREVENTS. PLEASE TAKE NOTE MS O’LOUGHLIN.
O’Loughlin is taking it entirely in her stride, clarifying to McNally that he was not blocked, merely limited from commenting, and inviting him to do the same to her and end this cursed episode forever more.
NYC famous restaurateur Keith McNally has 'outed' me on Instagram pic.twitter.com/3JuRJ1RZzQ— Marina O'Loughlin (@MarinaOLoughlin) December 21, 2020
This increasingly absurd escalation stems from September, and a tribute to restaurateur Sir Terence Conran, who died that month. McNally decided to object to O’Loughlin posting a tribute to the visionary restaurateur, claiming today that his target is “the hypocrisy of you and other restaurant critics to eulogize the great Terence Conran in death when you never wrote a good word about him in life.”
His “comments which failed to obediently agree” started with the unproven — “Conran’s restaurants were regularly savaged by London’s restaurant critics” — and ended in appeals to Orwell and Hitchens and the notion of Socrates owning a falafel joint on Camden High Street, none of which pertained to O’Loughlin or Conran. McNally, restaurateur behind the hugely influential Balthazar, has once again taken Instagram on a wrong turn into yikes.
McNally later sent Eater an email, reproduced below:
Dear London Eater Editor,
I’m writing this email to clarify the reasons for my minor spat with Sunday Times food critic, Marina O’Loughlin. I admire O’Loughlin’s reviews and her writing is way superior to her rivals, Jay Rayner and the homophobic Giles Coren. But by not allowing opposing comments to enter her Instagram realm, Ms O’laughlin is fast becoming a social media despot.
After blocking the majority of my critical comments, O’Loughlin claimed she hadn’t blocked me, but merely, “limited me from commenting.” “Limited me from commenting”, my ass! This is Stalinist Doublespeak for gagging all dissenters. As Orwell once wrote: ’Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.’
I didn’t try to “out” O’Loughlin. I knew the photo I posted on Instagram wasn’t the talented food reviewer, and never claimed it was. However, a semi-famous figure who’s desperate to avoid being seen has no right to complain when Joe Public speculates how she looks. It’s even more hypocritical for O’Loughlin to get wet under the collar for my using the word Cunnilingus. Especially as I used it to a post of hers in which she wrote the word Fuck.
Apologies for banging on about this.