Elle Darby has suffered a devastating backlash after she requested a free hotel stay in return for promotion on her site
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Credit: YouTube

This Ireland establishment is taking its right to refuse service very seriously.

British YouTube influencer Elle Darby found herself in the middle of an online feud with Dublin-based hotel Charleville Lodge and its adjacent restaurant, The White Moose Café, following a request she made to stay at the property for free in exchange for promotion on her site.

“My partner and I are planning to come to Dublin for an early Valentines Day weekend from Feb 8th – 12th to explore the area,” Darby wrote in an email published by Paul Stenson, who runs the café’s Facebook. “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.”

Stenson’s response to the proposition was negative, to say the least.

“Thank you for free accommodation in return for exposure,” he began in an open letter on the social media site. “It takes a lot of b***s to send an email like that, if not much self-respect and dignity.”

He continued, “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?”

Stenson then compared his social following to Darby’s, adding that he feels the numbers “do not make me better than anyone else or afford me the right to not pay for something everyone else has to pay for.”

After offering some not-so-friendly advice about paying her own way in the future — “This would show more self-respect on your part and, let’s face it, it would be less embarrassing for you,” he writes — he signs off with a chilly, “P.S. The answer is no.”

Darby, 22, released a response claiming the Stenson’s black highlighter did not disguise her name well enough (although he said her did not realize this fact), and as a result, she’s been dealing with some frightening consequences.

“My issue was not with the idea that he had refused my stay. My issue was how he reacted,” she said in a video posted to her YouTube page. “A very simple way to have gone about it would have been a ‘no’ or for the email to be ignored instead of me having death threats and cancer wishes.”

Later in the 10-minute long recording, she continues, “It’s been really overwhelming. People telling me that I should die, that they hope my children get cancer. I’ve been called almost every name under the sun.”


Although Darby appears to be finished addressing the issue, Stenson is still firing away, announcing that the cafe and hotel will ban all bloggers from its businesses and selling #Bloggergate T-shirts on its website. One reads, “I demanded freebies at the White Moose Café and all I got was this lousy t-shirt,” while another says, “I got exposed by White Moose.”

While neither party comes out of the disagreement unscathed, Darby points to a more permanent consequence of the actions taken by the manager.

“I think it’s about time that people stop and take responsibility for what they’re saying over a screen,” she says in her video. “Words can have a very negative impact on somebody’s mental state.”