Blogger accuses Dublin hotel of 'exposing her' after asking for free stay
A blogger has accused a Dublin hotel owner of bullying and "exposing her" after she asked if she could stay for free in exchange for some exposure on her social media channels.
UK-based Elle Darby, 22, got in contact with the owner of the White Moose Café, Paul Stenson, to ask about a "possible collaboration".
Telling him that she had over 87,000 YouTube subscribers and a further 76,000 Instagram followers, she said:
"My partner and I are planning to come to Dublin for an early Valentines Day weekend.
"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."
The hotel owner was quick to respond via his Facebook page, while he attempted to block out her name and contact information.
"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 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?"
He finished off the message with a simple: "P.S. The answer is no."
But some social media users were quickly able to pick up her social media handles from the screenshot and Darbywas bombarded with negative comments.
She later took to YouTube to address the controversy directly, insisting she had gotten in contact with Stenson with "nothing but the purest intentions."
In the video, she claimed people who are over the age of 30 have "no idea how social media works these days" and got visibly emotional as she defended herself.
Addressing people who have been allegedly sending her negative comments, she said:
"I feel disgusting having to say this. As a 22-year-old girl, who's running her own business from her home, I don't feel like I did anything wrong.
"These were all 30 years plus people internet bullying a 22-year-old girl who is just trying to run her own business and raise awareness of what appeared to be a stunning Dublin hotel."
The 22-year-old insisted she was "just a young girl trying to live their best life", and that she felt "embarrassed" and "humiliated" by the response.
In a follow up post on The White Moose Café's Facebook page, Stenson declared that "all bloggers [are now] banned from our business".
Denying that he had ever "exposed" Darby, he said:
"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 that we would be inundated with negative reviews for the simple reason that somebody was required to pay for good received or services rendered.
"The girl in question was never identified in my original post, but she herself went on to create a video explaining how she was 'exposed' with 'malicious intent' for asking for a freebie.
"This kind of victimisation is very prevalent in the blogging industry and is in keeping with their general modus operandi of wanting everything for nothing."