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This article was published on January 19, 2018

‘Bloggergate’ fiasco leads Dublin hotel to ban bloggers in the most hilarious way possible

‘Bloggergate’ fiasco leads Dublin hotel to ban bloggers in the most hilarious way possible
Bryan Clark
Story by

Bryan Clark

Former Managing Editor, TNW

Bryan is a freelance journalist. Bryan is a freelance journalist.

An Irish hotel has banned bloggers and other influencers after a 22-year-old YouTuber broke down in tears when she was refused free accomodation.

Elle Darby, a UK-based social media influencer first emailed Charleville Lodge in Dublin to seek a tit for tat arrangement seeking a free five night accommodation in exchange for bringing attention to the boutique hotel.

She touted her 87,000 YouTube subscribers and 76,000 Instagram followers before continuing:

My partner and I are planning to come to Dublin for an early Valentine’s Day weekend from Feb 8th to 12th to explore the area.

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.

Before ending the email, Darby again attempted to sell Charleville Lodge on the benefits of providing free accomodations to influencers by dropping a mention of a similar collaboration with Universal Orlando the previous year. “It’s been amazing for them,” she said.

Obviously Darby didn’t know who she was dealing with.

The hotel has made a name for itself in creating some truly great viral content, like this. Or how about these “do not disturb” door hangers?  Its policy on breastfeeding (possibly NSFW, if you work for morons)? Or, there’s my favorite: this “promo” video (below) that has me dying to stay there next time I’m in Dublin.

I’ll be paying for my accommodation, however.

Dubbed, “bloggergate,” the hotel’s social media accounts have had some fun with the fiasco, and with Darby herself, this week including this response:

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

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.

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? Who is going to pay for the light and heat you use during your stay? The laundering of your bed sheets? The water rates? 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?

Lucky for us, we too have a significant social media following. We have 186k followers on our two Facebook pages, an estimated 80k on our Snapchat, 32k on Instagram and a paltry 12k on our Twitter, but Jesus Christ, I would never in a million years ask anyone for anything for free. I also blog a bit (, which as far as I’m aware is another way of saying “write stuff on the internet”. The above stats do not make me any better than anyone else or afford me the right to not pay for something everyone else has to pay for.

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. Here is a little video I produced which you may learn from:

Best regards,

Paul Stenson

P.S. The answer is no.


Hotel owner Paul Stenson’s response is the type best read in front of a fireplace with Morgan Freeman narrating. Slow, soft music would build to a crescendo before dropping out to silence as Freeman deadpans to the camera and delivers the “P.S. The answer is no.” line.

I could have happily slid into the weekend on that note, but the drama didn’t end there.

As is often the case, Darby made the problem so much worse by responding, stating she felt “exposed,” “embarrassed,” and “angry” at the response in a YouTube video.

The sense of entitlement is strong with this one. So strong, in fact, that Darby’s follow-up video might even be more cringeworthy than the public shaming she took on Facebook. But nobody tells the story better than Darby, so we’ll let her do the talking:

The response, coupled with a bit of backlash from other bloggers and so-called influencers, led the hotel to enact a new policy, thereby banning bloggers and social media personalities from the premises.

We reached out for comment about whether the hotel and cafe actually intended to follow through on the ban, and if Stenson had further comment about the whole bloggergate fiasco.

We’re not expecting a response…

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