A Dublin hotel and cafe owner has banned social media influencers from his businesses after he shamed a 22-year-old YouTube personality who had asked for a free stay during an upcoming trip in return for publicity.
In a Facebook post on Jan 16, Paul Stenson, who owns The White Moose Cafe and Charleville Lodge, wrote a reply to an email sent by UK-based social media influencer Elle Darby.
Darby, who has over 87,000 subscribers on her YouTube channel and 76,000 Instagram followers, had asked for a five-night stay at his hotel in return for publicity on YouTube and Instagram.
She wrote in her email: “As I was searching for places to stay, I came across your stunning hotel and 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.”
“Last year I worked with Universal Orlando in Florida and it’s been amazing for them!”
As part of his post, Stenson attached a screengrab of Darby’s original email but took the pains to black-out her name and other details.
Here’s what he posted:
However, online users were quick to suss out that it was Darby and went on to flame her with negative comments online.
The backlash motivated Darby to take to YouTube (of course) and post a 17-minute response video, where she explains how she felt and even breaks down. The clip amassed nearly 240,000 views at the time of writing.
Here it is:
As a result, the Dublin hotel received backlash of its own from the online community, including Darby fans, which prompted Stenson to declare that “all bloggers” are banned from his businesses.
On The White Moon Cafe’s profile on Snapchat, Stenson, who is currently on a trip to Amsterdam with his partner, said the issue “puts into question the authenticity of influencer marketing”.
“You cannot trust what these people are saying…She would have spoken nicely about the hotel only because she was getting it for free,” he added.