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If you’re a social media influencer on a trip to Dublin, don’t bother trying to stay at the White Moose Café and Charleville Lodge. Owner Paul Stenson doesn’t want your business—and he’s blaming it all on a YouTuber named Elle Darby.
As Business Insider points out, Darby recently asked for a free five-night stay at his hotel, and in return, she said she would give it publicity on her YouTube channel (90,000 subscribers as of this writing). Stenson’s reaction? Hell no.
In a Facebook post unveiled this week, he wrote:
It takes a lot of balls to send an email like that, if not much self-respect and dignity. 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?
In her original email to him, Darby described herself as a “social media influencer, mainly lifestyle, beauty, and travel based.” She wrote that she would love to feature his hotel on her YouTube channel and on Instagram (where she has 80,000 followers) in return for “free accommodation.”
But Stenson pointed out that between his Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter accounts, the hotel has a combined 310,000 followers. “The above stats do not make me any better than anyone else or afford me the right to not pay for something everyone else has to pay for,” he wrote on Facebook.
Dear Social Influencer (I know your name but apparently it’s not important to use names),Thank you for your email...Posted by The White Moose Café on Tuesday, January 16, 2018
So, why did he ban all bloggers?
Darby posted a video in response to his Facebook post, titled “i was exposed (SO embarrassing),” in which she explains why she was infuriated, embarrassed, and humiliated by Stenson’s public response. The 22-year-old said she doesn’t feel like she did anything wrong by asking for the freebie, and she ripped the hotel for bringing her a wave of hate tweets after Stenson’s “malicious” and “nasty” response. She said she asked him to do business in a respectful way. Instead, she said the response of this “sad, pathetic little man” was massively inappropriate.
As of this writing, that video has more than 270,000 views—it’s, by far, her most-viewed video of the past few months—and apparently, her fans blasted the hotel online.
Stenson then banned all bloggers, writing, “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. I never thought we would be inundated with negative reviews for the simple reason that somebody was required to pay for goods received or services rendered.”
**ALL BLOGGERS BANNED FROM OUR BUSINESS**Following the backlash received after asking an unidentified blogger to pay...Posted by The White Moose Café on Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Perhaps Stenson sullied his message by using the well-worn (and mostly untrue) bloggers-blogging-in-their-mom’s-basement argument in his postscript. But we know one thing is for sure: Stenson is getting plenty of free publicity from this conflict.
Josh Katzowitz is a staff writer at the Daily Dot specializing in YouTube and boxing. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. A longtime sports writer, he's covered the NFL for CBSSports.com and boxing for Forbes. His work has been noted twice in the Best American Sports Writing book series.