In what appears to be either a rash moment of fury or a keen publicity ploy, Dublin’s White Moose Cafe and Charleville Lodge has banned all influencers after a U.K. YouTube star proposed a free visit in exchange for publicity.
Elle Darby, a lifestyle vlogger with 90,000 YouTube subscribers and 76,000 followers on Instagram, emailed the hotel with the proposition, stating that she intended to visit on Valentine’s Day weekend, and would showcase the hotel on her social channels in exchange for a free stay — an arrangement that Darby says she had successfully organized with other hotels in the past, per The Independent. Nevertheless, White Moose Cafe owner Paul Stenson was outraged by the proposition, and shared Darby’s note on the company’s Facebook page (see below). He then responded in a cutting open letter.
“It takes a lot of balls to send an email like that, if not much self-respect and dignity,” he wrote on Tuesday. “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?…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?”
Following the scathing message, Stenson said he received backlash from the influencer community — and so he subsequently banned all bloggers from eating at his cafe and staying at the lodge. “I have taken the decision to ban all bloggers from our hotel and cafe,” he announced the following day. “The sense of entitlement is just too strong in the blogging community and the nastiness, hissyfits, 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.”
While Stenson didn’t mention Darby by name in his original missive, she has since revealed herself to tell her side of the story. Darby, 22, says that she has also received hate in the wake of the incident, with many online commenters calling her an entitled freeloader. “My intent was literally just to see if he wanted to do business with me in a polite and respectful way. His response came from a completely dark, nasty place.”
You can check out her version of events below: