Elle Darby vs. Paul Stenson: storm in a teacup, legitimate controversy or fake drama? Youtube is buzzing, several major news outlets have picked up on the story, #Bloggergate is trending on social media. In a few short days this has become a major hype in social media circles. So who are these people, and what is the big controversy? Let’s take a look 🙂
Last night, while reading about something entirely different online, the following headline caught my eye: LUXURY DUBLIN HOTEL BANS ALL SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCERS. Intrigued, I read the article and did some searching on Google. With emotions ranging from amazement through amusement to outright bafflement, I ended up going to bed way too late as I read the posts, counterposts and reactions. This thing is as polarizing as Donald Trump on steroids.
Elle Darby, a social media influencer, sends an email to various hotels, asking for a free 4-night stay for herself and her boyfriend. In return she offers a review of the hotel. Paul Stenson, owner of The White Moose Café and the Charleville Lodge Hotel, posts her email on his Facebook page, and basically tells her to go jump in a lake. Elle then has a dramatic meltdown on Youtube, claiming that she was exposed, humiliated and victimized.
Paul Stenson’s post:
Elle’s Youtube response:
Subsequently, a social media war has erupted, with Elle’s Youtube followers and various other bloggers/vloggers giving the Charleville Lodge Hotel 1-star reviews to lower its score, and Paul upping the ante by banning all bloggers from staying at his hotel, among other responses. Both sides are getting as much criticism as praise. There is so much heated debate and hysteria that the feedback loop obscures the real issues. So let’s analyze this entire thing to see what’s really going on.
Paul Stenson is no stranger to controversy, it turns out when you dig a little deeper. He’s been in the media often, by offending and/or outraging various groups, including vegans and breastfeeding mothers. If Elle had done her homework, maybe she’d have thought twice about contacting him. In this matter, I see nothing reprehensible in his conduct, or the way he’s handling the fallout – in pure marketing terms, he’s a genius, and he’s getting way more exposure from all this than Elle could have given him in return for the freebie she was turned down for. And as dramatic as she makes it all seem, this entire escapade has probably gained her more teenaged girls and horny boys than she could have hoped for. Win-win for both parties involved, despite the hysteria of the fans.