ESC

Today in News Reported by Every Actual News Outlet: Vlogger and Hotel Owner Fight on Social Media

I love it when a story about two entirely unpleasant people crashing against each other goes viral and we get to sit back and try to figure out which one is the bigger asshole. So I was pretty thrilled when the tale of 22-year-old blogger Elle Darby and hotel owner Paul Stenson came across my desk via the Daily Mail.

Darby, who calls herself a “social media influencer,” so I already hate her, e-mailed Stenson and essentially offered to advertise his hotel on her social media accounts in exchange for free lodging, and mentioned that she had done a similar advertising venture with Universal Studios before. Okay, she doesn’t have a huge social media following, she mentions having 87K YouTube followers and 76K on Instagram, but it’s not nothing, and it’s probably an audience the hotel isn’t reaching.

I didn’t find the request to be that outrageous, personally. It’s much cheaper for a business like this to give accommodations for this sort of exchange than an equivalent amount of cash because they’re already going to be open and operating, so they only really lose anything if they would otherwise be fully booked.

But that isn’t how Paul Stenson saw it. He was outraged. He went on the warpath, claiming he couldn’t possibly afford to pay his staff if he comped her four night stay, which actually makes it look like his business is failing. He said “’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?” which also sort of implies he doesn’t understand how advertising works.

Anyway, Stenson posted the request and his reply to Facebook, expecting a pat on the back for being super shitty to someone who approached him in a professional capacity, sort of like he’s a blogger for Babe.net.

So Paul Stenson is a dick, got it. I obviously don’t have a problem with being mean to vloggers, but I’m a cultural commentator, not a hotel owner, and I critique people for what they do in public, not for form e-mails selling ads.

Now to the part where I hate Darby. Stenson may be a dick, but he didn’t actually name Darby in any of his dickery. No one would have guessed she was the person being dunked on here. We’ve all gotten dunked on on social media. Just mute it and move on with your life.

What Darby did was identify herself as the person Stenson was talking about and basically imply that his mean letter ruined her life.

In the video, she claimed people over the age of 30 ‘had no idea how social media works these days’ and revealed she had received hundreds of messages of abuse.

How did she get hundreds of messages of abuse if she hadn’t been named before she posted the video? I’m guessing she got 0 messages of abuse and saw hundreds of comments on the internet talking about how dumb some anonymous blogger was.

She 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.’

Ms Darby also claimed the response was hindering ‘the younger generation from doing what they enjoy’ and that she ‘cried my eyes out in my car alone’.

Again, she was anonymous until she identified herself in this video, so what she describes as “internet bullying” is people replying to a Facebook post that doesn’t identify her. Also, she’s 22, she’s not a child, I don’t see what her age actually has to do with anything. Like every word of that makes me hate her.

And there the story ends. Or does it? No it doesn’t. See, Paul Stenson lost his place as the bigger arsehole in this story, and he was determined not to be outdone. So he did what anyone would do, banned all bloggers from his business and made an oversized jar labeled “Tears of Bloggers” to go with the one already had labeled “Ashes of Vegans” from when he banned vegans.

And as if that wasn’t stupid enough, he posted a picture of an invoice for around €5.3 million that he claimed he was sending to Darby for all the advertising he had done for her.

You know, it wouldn’t actually surprise me if this entire thing was staged. It worked out exceptionally well for both of them as they’ve both attracted flocks of assholes taking their side for being the kind of assholes they agree with. If they didn’t plan this together from the start, they should have.

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