Hotel Bans Bloggers, ‘Influencers’ After One Cries for Being Denied Free Accommodation

Elle Darby / Instagram


A hotel in Dublin, Ireland has decided to ban bloggers and "social media influencers" after its initial response to one asking for free accommodation resulted in a much-publicized back and forth on social media.

In the controversy flagged by the Independent, Elle Darby, a United Kingdom "social media influencer" with a large following on YouTube and Instagram, emailed the White Moose Cafe asking for free accommodation in exchange for featuring the hotel in her social media videos and posts.

"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," Darby wrote.

Hotel owner Paul Stenson took to the hotel's Facebook page, which itself has a prolific social media following, to publicize his response. He began the response by taking a dig at the blogger's, what appears to be, unpersonalized email.

"Dear Social Influencer (I know your name but apparently it's not important to use names)," Stenson wrote.

He went on to criticize the lack of "self-respect and dignity" it took to send the request for free accommodation.

"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," he said.

"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?" Stenson continued. "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?" 

Dear Social Influencer (I know your name but apparently it’s not important to use names),Thank you for your email…

Posted by The White Moose Café on Tuesday, January 16, 2018

"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," Stenson added.

The staff of the White Moose Cafe even produced a video mocking Darby and the entire culture of "social media influencers." In the video, they criticize social media personalities who pay for followers and then turn around and attempt to utilize those followers in order to receive free goods and services.

House of Influencers

White Moose presents "House of Influencers"Starring Jen Hatton SketchesProduced by Paul V. StensonDirected by Gerardwalshfilmmaker

Posted by The White Moose Café on Sunday, October 22, 2017

Even though Stenson and his staff attempted to redact Darby's personal information before posting her email in its entirety on Facebook, users were able to decipher her identity and barraged her with negative comments and personal attacks. In response to the criticism, Darby released a 17 minute in which she attempted to set the record straight about her intentions.

"As a 22-year-old girl, who's running her own business from her own home, I don't feel like I did anything wrong," Darby states in the video.

She asserted her intentions were pure and presented a business opportunity that could prove beneficial to both herself and the White Moose Cafe.

"I had gone to this certain hotel and emailed them politely offering them a business idea, a business proposal, a collaboration idea with nothing but the purest intentions. Nothing but the purest intentions," Darby said.

Darby genuinely seemed to have been taken back by the negative response to her request.

"There were over about 100 comments saying disgusting things about me," Darby said.

"I was angry, I was sad, I was upset, I was anxious, I was embarrassed, I felt humiliated," she added.

One day after Darby's video was posted, The White Moose Cafe took to Facebook once more to announce a new blanket ban on bloggers.

"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," Stenson wrote. "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."

Stenson also seemed to state the decision to ban bloggers was a direct result of Darby's video.

"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," Stenson wrote.

"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," Stenson added.

Stenson included one final zing against Darby and the entire industry in his postscript.

"Perhaps if you went out and got real jobs you’d be able to pay for goods and services like everybody else. Just a thought!"

**ALL BLOGGERS BANNED FROM OUR BUSINESS**Following the backlash received after asking an unidentified blogger to pay…

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

Haris Alic

Haris Alic   Email | Full Bio | RSS
Haris Alic is a Social Media Writer at the Washington Free Beacon. Prior to joining the staff, Haris worked in communications and government relations at various non-profits. Haris lives in Northern Virginia. His Twitter handle is @realHarisAlic. He can be reached at

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