Wanna see something? Take a minute and go to this site: GlutenDude.org.
Go on…I’ll wait.
Now wasn’t that interesting?
Have a seat and I’ll tell you the back story.
Last August, somebody told me about Bart & Judy’s Gluten-Free Cookies. They’re labelled gluten-free but she said there is a disclaimer on the box that says “May contain wheat”.
So being the sterling journalist that I am, I asked her to contact the company before I blog about it and here is what Bart said to her: We do have wheat in our bakery; however the mixer and equipment is totally washed-down before we run the gluten-free cookies.
If you’re shaking your head…yeah, that was my reaction too.
So I wrote a blog post about their cookies. I didn’t think they were taking enough precautions to keep their cookies safe for celiacs. You can read the blog post here.
Did I call them out? I did.
Did I slam them? You be the judge, but I think I was actually quite gentle about it.
Bart emailed me a few days later complaining about my blog post. His email was very professional, which I appreciated, and I wrote back the following to him: “Hi Bart. Thanks for the email. I posted your letter on my blog today. You seem like good people and a good company. But it is my firm belief that you need to change your production habits if you want to label your cookies gluten free. The risk is just too great. I wish you and Judy the best in everything.”
We went back and forth a few times and it was all very cordial. End of story…or so I thought.
8 months later, I received an email from Bart. Except his language and demeanor were much different this time around. It’s almost like he forgot we had already communicated previously.
He accused me of “KNOWINGLY propagating false information”, says I was doing a “disservice to those suffering from Celiac Disease”, and demanded I take the blog post down. I asked him if he changed the way he produces his cookies and I never got a response from him. That was that. End of story part 2…or so I thought.
This brings us to today. Somebody on FB sent me the link to glutendude.org. My initial reaction? What the ever-living hell!! How sad and pathetic.
Which means it’s the perfect venue for a “Gluten Dude site breakdown”.
Let’s do it.
He says: I’m a sad and desperate guy who exploits a serious disease for personal gain.
I say: I’m a happy and content guy who advocates for the celiac community. Oh…and what personal gain?? This blog takes a boat load of work to keep up. The only “gain” I get is from helping the celiac community.
He says: It’s sad when a guy can’t eke out a living by providing an honest service or doing an honest day’s work without resorting to lying about others!
I say: You think I do this for a living? You wanna know how much money I make from this site? I’ll give you a hint. If you took ALL the money in the world and got rid of it, that’s how much money I make from this site.
He says: I’ve attempted to contact “Gluten Dude” through his website / Facebook, his blog and by email. I know he reads what I’ve written because he deletes my posts. He has not responded to my emails.
I say: Yikes…that’s not even close to true. I’ve replied to every contact he’s made and I’ve deleted nothing. That one got me riled up a bit.
He says: There is no contact information for him. No-one knows his name, no-one even knows where he’s located! Yet he continues to propagate lies about our cookies. Why is “Gluten Dude” hiding?
I say: Ummm…I wrote one short blog post almost a year ago. I’m not “continuing” to do anything. You are. As to why I keep anonymous, that’s confidential information ;)
He says: Gluten Dude seems to be a relentless self-promoter who makes his living hawking t-shirts at the expense of Celiac’s and others who seek quality products to support their gluten-free diets! Shame on you Gluten Dude.
I say: I hawk t-shirts? Really?? I didn’t know that. I love t-shirts. Where can I buy one?
Bart…I feel no shame. I feel no remorse. I feel no guilt.
I tried to open a conversation with you many times. I tried to get you to understand that simply washing your contaminated equipment between making your gluten-filled cookies and your gluten-free cookies wasn’t enough. I was trying to help you see the light. But instead of being open to change, you took this rather unfortunate route, which will just bring more negative attention to your company. Is that really what you want?
Oh…and slamming me on your Facebook page was a nice touch. Real classy.
I hold absolutely no ill-will towards you Bart. You are trying to protect your brand (while sadly totally bashing mine). But man…are you going about it in the wrong way. Personal vendettas don’t solve anything.
Take the page down Bart and release the domain name. You are just making yourself look petty and silly. And for the record, I could very easily take legal action as you are using my trademarked name. It’s actually a very open and shut case.
But I don’t want your money.
And I don’t want anymore emails from you.
I simply don’t want to waste any more of my time with you.
It sucks the life out of me and it just ain’t worth it.
UPDATE: A fellow celiac emailed Bart last night and asked about his cookies and if they were safe for celiacs. His response? “If gluten is a serious health issue, I would not not chance our cookies. We’d love to have you as a customer but we’d rather err on the side of caution.”
What the hell? So after all this, he’s admitting I was right. Makes no sense.
Jim Morrison was right. People are indeed strange.