A luxury hotel has banned all YouTubers and Instagram stars after a vlogger became involved in an argument with the owner after asking for free accommodation.
22-year-old UK-based fashion, beauty and lifestyle YouTuber Elle Darby has 87,000 subscribers on her YouTube channel and 76,000 Instagram followers.
Writing to Paul Stenson, the owner of the luxurious White Moose Cafe and Charleville Lodge Hotel in Dublin, Darby asked if he would be interested in a ‘possible collaboration’.
Throwback to New Year’s Day before my eye surgery with this guy ❤️ I’m really looking forward to a quality-time kinda day with @connorswift1 today, walking around a beautiful country park this morning, followed by a roast dinner with my family & a date night at the cinema. Connor works as a PT & he’s also currently taking online clients for an 8-week challenge (starting tomorrow – DM him if you’re interested!) so he’s been super busy this week and I’ve really missed having him around while I’ve been sloth girl on the sofa ?? this year I’m putting lots more focus on making memories with my loved ones and I’m very excited to go on a heap more adventures with you, Con ??❤️??♀️
Darby and her partner were planning to visit the city for an early Valentine’s Day weekend away and so she asked the hotel if they could stay for free for five nights in exchange for featuring the hotel in her videos and on social media.
In an email to Stenson, she wrote:
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 February 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.
Last year I worked with Universal Orlando in Florida and it’s been amazing for them.
Darby did not get the reaction she thought she would though as the email was greeted with disdain by Stenson who not only replied but also posted the exchange online.
Stenson’s reply read:
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?
Lucky for us, we too have a significant social media following but Jesus Christ, I would never in a million years ask anyone for anything for free.
In future, I’d advise you to offer to pay your way like everyone else, and if the hotel in question believes your coverage will help them, maybe they’ll give you a complimentary upgrade to a suite. This would show more self-respect on your part and, let’s face it, it would be less embarrassing for you.
Sharing this on Facebook the post received a mixed reaction with some accusing Stenson of bullying and others calling Darby ‘a spoilt brat’.
I’m going to be completely honest and admit this Christmas was the first one where I really saw it for what it truly is all about.. spending quality time with the people who love you. I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting older or because I’m lucky enough to have literally everything I could want or need, but I’ve had the realisation that nobody will be around forever. There’s still a few days left of the festivities so make sure you hug those you love tightly & cherish absolutely every moment with them ?
The argument wasn’t done there though as Darby responded to Stenson’s reply by sharing a video on YouTube titled ‘I was exposed, so embarrassed’.
In the 17-minute-long video, Darby breaks down into tears and talks about how the events had left her angered and humiliated.
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.
I don’t really know what their intent was – it was just malicious.
Darby also revealed how since the exchange was posted online she has been subject to hundreds of internet trolls and abusive messages.
Although Stenson did block out her information when he posted the email on Facebook, it didn’t take long for people to work out it was Darby.
You can watch the video here:
Since Darby uploaded this video Stenson and his business has also faced a huge backlash leading to him posting another update on Facebook this time banning all bloggers from visiting.
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.
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.
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.
If any of you attempt to enter our premises from now on, you will be ejected.
Opinions on Twitter are split:
Feeling really sorry for @elledarby today.
If a magazine outreaches to a hotel for advertising and they have a reach of over 150K then it wouldn’t be questioned as a comp stay. A blogger/vlogger does it & it’s scummy. Move with the times people. ?
— Harriet Shearsmith (@tobyandroo) January 16, 2018
I am absolutely beyond CRINGING for the girl Elle Darby who was looking for free accommodation in the @whitemoosecafe, claiming she single handedly increased the amount of people to visit Universal Studios in Florida? WOULD YOU BE WELL
— Amy Louise ? (@amylou_alh) January 16, 2018
He wasn’t being rude or tacky, he was pointing out to people and highlighting the fact that she agreed to promote the place and “get people to stay there” , promising this before she stayed. So she would say the place was fantastic just to get a freebie, what are people to trust?
— Emma Hayes (@EmHay89) January 16, 2018
im howling at that absolute beg elle darby looking for a free valentines weekend in a hotel for her and her bf and uploading a 20 minute long video titled "ive been exposed" with a thumbnail of her head in her hands when she was found out ? put influencers in the bin
— rick and morto (@DylanTeeBH) January 16, 2018
What do you think, modern day marketing or crafty cheapskating?
Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.