Elle Darby White Mouse Cafe

Elle Darby/YouTube

YouTuber Elle Darby can’t escape feud with hotel owner

He's clearly having a great time.


Josh Katzowitz


Posted on Jan 26, 2018   Updated on May 22, 2021, 3:10 am CDT

Elle Darby, the YouTube vlogger who was roasted on Twitter after asking an Irish hotel owner for free accommodations, said she’s moving on with her life. But the owner of the White Moose Café, Paul Stenson, isn’t ready to end the feud.

Instead, he posted a long blog on Friday, detailing exactly how and why he began and continued the feud with the beauty vlogger. And he loves that he and Darby are getting so much free publicity out of their kerfuffle.

In his post, titled “The Truth Behind #Bloggergate,” he wrote that he never intended to reveal her name, that he used humor as a way to make his point, and that both parties experienced positive outcomes after their battle went international. He also detailed his strategy for the online fight.

The feud began earlier this month when Darby emailed Stenson and asked for free accommodations in return for positive coverage on her YouTube channel (which, at the time, had 88,000 subscribers but has since swelled to nearly 100,000) and her Instagram account. Stenson posted her email on Facebook, hiding her identity and contact information in the process, and blasted her lack of self-awareness. He then proclaimed all bloggers would be banned from his hotel.


Aside from her asking for a freebie, Stenson wasn’t mad. In fact, he said he was amused by her email.

In his blog post, Stenson wrote, “The email writer [bragged] about how great she was, how popular she was. … The ‘me, me, me’ style of writing that ensued suggested that not only was the addressee of the email non-existent, but there was a particularly strong chance that no other human being on planet earth existed, other than the emailer. … She continued to say that she noticed our hotel and thought it was ‘stunning.’ When I read this word, I immediately smelt bullshit. We run a 3-star budget lodge. People have called it ‘nice’ and ‘grand’ and maybe even ‘good value.’ On the odd occasion, people even refer to it as a ‘shithole,’ but never in the 24 years that we have owned this building have I ever once heard it described as ‘stunning.’ I am not ashamed to say this. It’s fact.”

Darby posted a video, which has now been viewed more than 2.5 million times, in response to Stenson’s reaction, saying she had been embarrassed by the “sad, pathetic little man.” Stenson said her idea to make the video was a good one since it was going to get plenty of attention and views, making her plenty of money.

Wrote Stenson: “This was a far more inventive way of getting views than putting on tight pants and shaking her bottom on camera (which apparently is what she usually does).”

He marveled at the worldwide reach of the story, and soon after, he continued the feud, mocking up an invoice that said she owed him $7 million for all the exposure he had provided her YouTube channel.

“I needed to send out the message to anybody worried about her mental health that she was doing just fine, she was laughing all the way to the bank. Her video had nearly 1.5 [million] views at this stage. She was killing it,” Stenson wrote. “…[Darby] was making ‘dolla’ off the back of her amateur dramatics. The other purpose of the invoice was to keep the story going for as long as possible.”

Later, Stenson gave a fake press conference and began offering #bloggergate merchandise


Stenson said it was unacceptable that people had been cyberbullying Darby, but a few paragraphs later, he also wrote, “She puts herself forward as being a confident person who knows exactly what she’s doing. It’s curious how all of a sudden this strong independent woman persona disappears when she is called out. One minute she is a grown-up woman, the next a little girl.”

Stenson is quick to admit that his strategy was not an accident. In the past, he’s used different “crises” to draw attention to his business, including feuds against vegans, people with gluten intolerance, and breastfeeding mothers. Ideally, he wrote, he’d like a 50/50 split—50 percent of the people who agreed with him and 50 percent of the people “who fucking hate you.” That way, he said, he can just watch the money pour into his bank account.

In this case, he said it was more like a 90/10 split of people who supported him, so when “things would seem to be too one-sided, I’d lob in a post to keep the fighting going. To ignite the flame. To enrage the fury.”

Though Darby said she’s done with the feud, Stenson has continued it for at least one more day. It brought his business plenty of attention and because he simply enjoyed the fight.

“This was a shit storm of unprecedented proportions,” he wrote. “It was fucking awesome.”

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*First Published: Jan 26, 2018, 3:23 pm CST