Paul Stenson, owner of the White Moose Café and Charleville Lodge Hotel in Dublin, has form for publicly calling out those who he feels has wronged his business. Most recently he half-jokingly stated that anyone requiring gluten-free food would need to provide a doctor’s note.
The latest person to feel his wrath is a YouTuber called Elle Darby, who wrote to the Hotel to request free accommodation for her partner and herself in exchange for blog and social media coverage. Darby has over 95,000 YouTube subscribers and 87,000 followers on Instagram. “I would love to feature you in my Youtube videos/dedicated Instagram stories/posts to bring traffic to your hotel and recommend others to book up in return for free accommodation,” wrote Darby in an email.
An incensed Stenson decided to reply openly in a Facebook post. “Thank you for your email looking for free accommodation in return for exposure. It takes a lot of balls to send an email like that, if not much self-respect and dignity,” he says. “If I let you stay here in return for a feature in your video, who is going to pay the staff who look after you? Who is going to pay the housekeepers who clean your room? The waiters who serve you breakfast? The receptionist who checks you in? Who is going to pay for the light and heat you use during your stay? The laundering of your bed sheets? The water rates? Maybe I should tell my staff they will be featured in your video in lieu of receiving payment for work carried out while you’re in residence?”
Since then, Darby has released a video addressing the incident, saying that she has received abusive messages and has done nothing wrong, while the White Moose has been bombarded with negative reviews, many allegedly from bloggers. Darby says the over-30s have “no idea how social media works.”
So far, quite a mess. But now Stenson has released a new Facebook post banning all bloggers from his establishment in retaliation for the sleu of negative reviews. “Following the backlash received after asking an unidentified blogger to pay for a hotel room, I have taken the decision to ban all bloggers from our hotel and cafe," he says. "The sense of entitlement is just too strong in the blogging community and the nastiness, hissy fits and general hate displayed after one of your members was not granted her request for a freebie is giving your whole industry a bad name … The girl in question was never identified in my original post, but she herself went on to create a video explaining how she was ‘exposed’ with ‘malicious intent’ for asking for a freebie." He continues: “If any of you [bloggers] attempt to enter our premises from now on, you will be ejected.”
He’s also jokingly sent Darby an invoice for over €5million for "The provision of features in 114 articles across 20 countries with a potential reach of 450 million people,’ although as these figures posted on Linked-in show, both Darby and The White Moose have done exceptionally well from what is being dubbed #bloggergate.
What do you think, did this owner go too far? Let us know over on our Facebook page.