Update: we’ve had a comment from TripAdvisor, skip to the end of the article to see it.
Today, after more than 100 people voted the original review of The Bell at Westoning as ‘helpful’ (and presumably a whole lot reported the restaurant’s response as ‘inappropriate’ too) TripAdvisor have taken the disappointing step of deleting the entire review. Here’s what they said to Christina F, who wrote it:
You’d think from this email that the review hadn’t passed the initial approval process, but it had. It had already been reviewed by TripAdvisor and put live. It was only when it started to go viral and people became outraged by the restaurant’s sneering, insulting response branding the writer “feministic” and “boring” that TripAdvisor saw fit to intervene. They could have deleted the restaurant’s reply, sending a message that insulting people who leave fair and accurate reviews is not OK on their platform – but instead they silenced the woman who had the courage to report the harassment she saw, and warn others.
This suggests TripAdvisor believes that open sexual harassment of employees in a restaurant is not ‘relevant’ to diners when choosing where to eat. We strongly disagree. I personally don’t want to watch a woman jumping in shock when her boss slaps her on the backside during a nice meal out. In fact, I don’t want to watch that anywhere, ever. If TripAdvisor genuinely believes I wouldn’t change my choice of dining venue based on this information, then I pity the people they take out for dinner.
Christina has now submitted an edited version of her review (in which the restaurant gets off much lighter) and for the time being at least, it’s up. We’re awaiting official comment from TripAdvisor and will update if and when we receive it.
Update: TripAdvisor respond
TripAdvisor’s PR team got in touch to say:
“In our guidelines, we ask that reviewers refrain from personal political, ethical or religious commentary. In this case, we can confirm that the original review was removed because it contained some commentary of that nature. To be clear, the review was notremoved because the reviewer’s first hand experience was considered irrelevant. In fact, we encouraged the reviewer to resubmit their review in order that their experience be shared with the travel community. We are pleased that the reviewer chose to do so, and that her resubmitted review meets our guidelines. As such, the review remains published on the site.”
So what makes the new review more acceptable to TripAdvisor? Well, Christina’s taken out the reference to ‘International Women’s Day’ (abbreviating it to IWD), removed the comment that it’s a “huge reminder that we still need feminism, even in 2015” and removed the word ‘misogyny’ from the title.
It would appear, then, that TripAdvisor is fine with reporting sexual harassment as long as you don’t use the proper terms, or refer to the movement against it. How progressive.