With a swift gubernatorial pen stroke, California is now the first state to officially entitle Yelpers to be as nasty and brutish as they please — well, assuming it’s not libelous stuff. Naturally, the proliferation of review sites, and of a certain subset of ridiculous reviewers and business owners who use them, has complicated what Yelpers argue is a basic right enshrined right there in the First Amendment. California agrees, telling them it has their back.
The law also heavily fines establishments that — like, infamously, a hotel in upstate New York — write so-called “disparagement clauses” into their terms of service, allowing them to slap mean reviewers with fees. There’s already talk of introducing a similar law at the federal level, too, so hard-to-please out-of-state reviewers might not even have to wait for it to move gruelingly state by state. Get ready for a lot more one-star slams.