Less than two weeks after Cooks Source magazine came under fire for using a story about apple pie without the writer's permission, the Sunderland-based publication says it will likely go out of business.
"The bad news is that this is probably the final straw for Cooks Source," says the unsigned note posted on Cooks Source website. "We have never been a great money-maker even with all the good we do for businesses. Having a black mark wont help ... and now, our black mark will become our shroud. ... This will end us."
The note goes on to criticize writer Monica Gaudio for not giving Cooks Source more time to explain its mistake. "I really wish she had given me a chance to respond to her before blasting me. She really never gave me a chance."
Gaudio, whose story about apple pie originally ran on the website for Gode Cookery, wrote in her LiveJournal blog that when she contacted Cooks Source's editor about the unauthorized use of her story, the editor responded that Cooks Source had every right to reprint her article because what's on the internet is "public domain."
Although Gaudio never mentioned the editor, Judith Griggs, by name, Griggs wound up getting hate mail and hundreds of angry messages on the magazine's Facebook page. "We have had so much hate e-mail (over 400 pieces), phone calls and regular mail. My advertisers too, have been so harassed that it has all muddies up the waters as to what the real situation is," says the new note on the Cooks Source home page.
Laura Puchalski, owner of 2nd Street Baking Co. in Turners Falls, which had been a Cooks Source advertiser, said she began to receive angry e-mails within hours of Gaudio's story going national, and that she said she barely had time to figure out what had happened at Cooks Source before getting threats of boycotts. "We were getting e-mail after e-mail -- 50 or 60 emails," told us. "Some of them were really very nasty -- like, 'How dare you support plagiarism?' It kind of freaked us out. We're a new business." Soon after the Cooks Source controversy erupted, Puchalski had posted a note on Facebook saying that her business would no longer support Cooks Source. She said she would have pulled her advertising regardless of the threats. She said that Cooks Source is a good concept, that it aimed to support local businesses, "but it wasn't managed well."
Numerous attempts to contact Griggs and Gaudio over the past two weeks have failed.