Dublin hotel bans 'all bloggers' from its café after freebie attempt goes viral 5 years ago

Dublin hotel bans 'all bloggers' from its café after freebie attempt goes viral

How's about that for exposure?

The White Moose Cafe and its owner, Paul Stenson, have never exactly shied away from controversy.


There was the time he called for all the vegans to be shot, or the time he demanded customers produce a doctor's note to prove that they are gluten intolerant. Then he upset all of Brazil by laughing at one South American's accent, poked fun at breastfeeding mums and shared CCTV footage of a woman who gave a bad review.

On Tuesday (16 January), the café - part of Stenson's Charleville Lodge hotel - received an email from a blogger, Elle Darby, who formally identifies as a "social influencer".

Letting him know fairly quickly that she had over 87,000 YouTube subscribers and a further 76,000 Instagram followers, Darby proposed to Stenson an idea for a "collaboration".

"My partner and I are planning to come to Dublin for an early Valentines Day weekend," she wrote. "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."


Stenson wrote back via his Facebook page: "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.

"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?"

Handing her back his café's own social media statistics and the number of followers, he volleyed, "The above stats do not make me any better than anyone else or afford me the right to not pay for something everyone else has to pay for."


Closing with a quick "P.S. The answer is no", it would have been the end of the saga were it not for the fact that Darby was bombarded with negative comments across all of her social media pages.

Taking to YouTube to address the White Moose's response to her proposal, Darby said she contacted Stenson with "nothing but the purest intentions" other than to "raise awareness of what appeared to be an absolutely stunning hotel."

"As a 22-year-old girl who is running her own business from her home, I don't feel I did anything wrong in that." Saying plenty of hotels, foods and brands had given her freebies in exchange for exposure, she said nobody had ever been as "rude", "nasty" or "disrespectful" as this "fully-grown man."



While this was going on, Stenson was getting plenty of "exposure" by way of angry comments and dozens of negative TripAdvisor reviews.

In response, he wrote a short "apology".

"You are a much more lucrative group of people to piss off than the vegans and the gluten intolerant combined," he said.

And because clearly there is no such thing as bad publicity, he announced that all bloggers were banned.

"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 we would be inundated with negative reviews for the simple reason that somebody was required to pay for goods received or services rendered."


Denying that he ever "exposed" Darby, noting that she had in fact, done so herself, he went on to say: "This kind of victimization is very prevalent in the blogging industry, and is in keeping with their general modus operandi of wanting everything for nothing."


Following the backlash received after asking an unidentified blogger to pay...

Posted by The White Moose Café on Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Finally, taking the time to thank all the enraged bloggers, he said "The publicity you've given us is absolutely priceless. But don't worry bloggers, your work won't go unnoticed. It will be featured in my book 'How to Get Worldwide Publicity Without Spending A Cent'".

Signing off by turning the tables, he said: "Keep the hateful comments and reviews coming and, you never know, it could be you who is featured in the book."

Oh, what a successful collaboration.


I’d just like to say a huge thanks to all the bloggers for their hard work over the past two...

Posted by The White Moose Café on Wednesday, January 17, 2018