A luxury hotel in Dublin has banned YouTubers and Instagram stars from staying with them after a 22-year-old YouTube blogger asked for a free five-night stay and proceeded to break down in tears when she was promptly refused. This story has been widely shared across multiple social media platforms.
The whole issue started when a woman called Elle Darby, a UK-based social media influencer with over 87,000 YouTube subscribers and around 76,000 Instagram followers, decided to get in touch with the owner of The White Moose Cafe, Paul Stenson, and asked if he was interested in any sort of collaboration.
She got in touch with Paul Stenson via email which read: "I work as a social media influencer, mainly lifestyle, beauty & travel based. My partner and I are planning to come to Dublin for an early Valentine’s Day weekend from Feb 8th to 12th to explore the area. 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."
She concluded the email by narrating how she had organized a similar sort of arrangement with Universal Orlando in Florida last year and she stated that "it has been amazing for them".
Paul Stenson, the owner of the White Moose hotel, responded to her email but decided to do so publicly, taking to The White Moose's Facebook page.
In the post Stenson wrote: "Dear Social Influencer (I know your name but apparently it’s not important to use names), 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. If I let you stay here in return for a feature in a 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?"
"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?." This is what Paul Stenson concluded the story with and of course, his point was made loud and clear. As if it was not clear enough Stenson also included " P.S. The answer is no".
In the message that Stenson had posted on Facebook, he had tried his level best to black out Darby's name and other contact details that were revealed but people soon connected the dots and were quick to identify the person as YouTuber Elle Darby. Many people were quick to comment and criticize Darby based on her request and behavior.
With the negative criticism and backlash she received, Elle resorted to uploading a YouTube video of herself where she directly addresses the controversy. In the video, she can be seen having a meltdown from all the embarrassment, humiliation, and anger that she felt as she attempts to defend and justify herself.
These are some of the negative comments against Elle Darby:
Another person tweeted:
A Twitter user commented on the situation saying:
"I was exposed (SO embarrassing)", the influencer emotionally insists she got in contact with Stenson with 'nothing but the purest intentions'. As a 22-year-old girl, who’s running her own business from her home, I don’t feel like I did anything wrong."
Darby was not pleased with the way that Paul decided to show her up and she wonders why he could not reply via email which would have been private and a lot less humiliating. "I don’t really know what their intent was — it was just malicious" and that since his post, she has received countless comments calling her a "disgusting freeloader."
People have reacted both ways to Darby's problem; some who agree with the Dublin hotel's nasty response and some who believe that Darby did not do anything wrong to deserve the harsh reaction that she received. The Dublin Hotel also received its own backlash after the heated controversy.
In a recent Facebook post in response to the video, Stenson boldly declared in all caps that "All bloggers banned from our business. 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 also mentioned in the post that "the sense of entitlement is just too strong in the blogging community."
Stenson also believes that had he let Darby stay for free, she would have only said some nice things about the hotel because they let her stay for free and not really because the hotel was good. Stenson thinks that this damages the authenticity of social influencers and persons.
With all the negative backlash that Paul Stenson and his luxury hotel received, he only had this to say:
Here is a video that Elle Darby posted in response to the calling out:
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