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Dublin hotel bills vlogger 6.5 million in publicity fees
The White Moose Cafe/Elle Darby/Business Insider
- Elle Darby, a social media influencer, was told she could not in exchange for exposure on her social media channels.
- This caused a media storm around both her and the hotel after she published a 17-minute long video explaining the situation to her followers.
- The hotel, The White Moose cafe, has since sent Darby a bill for the coverage totaling .5 million.
The owner of a Dublin hotel has billed a video blogger for nearly £4.67 million (€5.3 million/.5 million) after refusing her a free stay she asked for in exchange for social media posts.
Paul Stenson, owner of the Charleville Lodge Hotel and White Moose Cafe, said he was sending an invoice after "social influencer" Elle Darby, 22, accused him of bullying for exposing an email she wrote asking for free accommodation.
"I'll be posting out this invoice today..." he wrote on the White Moose Cafe Facebook page alongside a picture of the invoice, which details charges for: "The provision of features in 114 articles across 20 countries with a potential reach of 450 million people."
In the terms section of the bill, it says: "Mentions in videos will not qualify as payment."
Mr Stenson sparked a public row last week when he posted to Facebook an anonymised email from Ms Darby, who has 87,000 YouTube subscribers and 76,000 Instagram followers, proposing a "possible collaboration".
She asked for a free stay over Valentine's Day weekend, writing: "I 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."
But he declined and wrote a scathing riposte, saying: "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?"
He added: "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?"
Although Mr Stenson didn't unveil her identity, she did so herself after he shared her email, posting a video to YouTube with the title "I was exposed (SO embarrassing)".
In it she insisted she was within her rights to ask for a free stay and accused Mr Stenson of "bullying."
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."
Miss Darby added: "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."
After a backlash on social media, Mr Stenson then "banned bloggers" from his establishments.
He wrote: "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."
The row went viral, leading Mr Stenson to send the bill and point out Miss Darby has benefited from the row even though she didn't get a free stay.
Miss Darby has not yet responded to Mr Stenson's public posting of the invoice but had on Sunday, tweeted to her fans to thank them for their support.
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