Resort slams ‘freeloading’ influencers
A luxury hotel on a Philippines holiday island has slammed "freeloading" influencers and told them to "get a job" in a scathing post that's gone viral.
White Banana Beach Club on the Philippine island of Siargao said it was fed up with requests from "self-proclaimed influencers" asking to stay for free in exchange for promotion on their social media channels.
"We are receiving many messages regarding collaborations with influencers, Instagram influencers," the resort said in a post on Facebook, kickstarting what's become a viral debate.
"We kindly would like to announce that White Banana is not interested to 'collaborate' with self-proclaimed 'influencers'.
"And we would like to suggest to try another way to eat, drink or sleep for free. Or try to actually work."
The post was initially met with praise from followers and has so far attracted more than 11,000 likes and 1400 comments.
"Those who ask are not real influencers or bloggers. They're just a bunch of freeloaders," Facebook user Jeman Bunyi Villanueva wrote.
"Self-proclaimed IG (Instagram) influencers are social climbers … whose influence is an illusion and whose followers are usually dummy accounts, other social climbers mesmerised by freebies, or guys who only follow them for their provocative pics," Andie Yey wrote.
"Whoever is curating your social media accounts, is actually doing an amazing job. Kudos to you for standing up to that 'self proclaimed influencer' who wanted to rip you off," Rhya Regondola said.
Another person said: "Makes me wanna go to this place just so I can one-up those 'influencers'."
Others were unhappy with hotel's stance, pointing out it would be better for the White Banana to decline requests in private rather than going public with an "unnecessarily condescending" post.
"HOW ABOUT THE INNOCENT INFLUENCERS who is (sic) now affected because of this shaming you did?" Marjorie Liwag wrote.
"You spoke and attacked everyone. Saying that 'or try to actually work …' isn't that insulting?"
Local YouTuber Lance De Ocampo hit back at the hotel, claiming influencers were the reason for the success of Siargao, an idyllic island and surfing mecca southwest of Manila.
"'Social media influencers', 'Instagram influencers' have big contributions to boost Siargao's tourism," De Ocampo posted on Instagram to his almost 49,000 followers.
"Siargao will not be as appreciated as it is now if not of the so-called influencers' breathtaking and well-curated Instagram photos."
He issued an apology for his comments after receiving a backlash.
"I didn't message that beach club for any kind of collaboration," he wrote in a later post.
"To clear things up, I didn't mean to credit Siargao's tourism on influencers. I just meant that one factor of Siargao's growing popularity is because of social media."
As the debate over influencers went viral, Filipina TV host and model Bianca Gonzelez weighed in on Twitter.
"The word 'influencer' is thrown a lot around these days," she wrote. "All of us, regardless of follower count, have influence with people around us, for sure.
"But it should never be a licence to feel entitled to demand to be given free things."
The resort later clarified it was "not against INFLUENCERS. Just against freeloaders".
"A REAL influencer is called as such by the rest, he does not address him/herself as an influencer. They are bloggers. We have actually collaborated with a few of them, in different terms and conditions, and we support them," the post read.
"There are real influencers, that in case we will contact them and pay or offer something."
In an update yesterday the White Banana said it was attracting negative reviews on Facebook "from people who have never been here" in the wake of the saga.
"Sweet snowflakes that probably never worked a day in their life," the hotel posted, after announcing a new cocktail, called "The Snowflake".
Last year, a YouTuber said she was "humiliated" by a Dublin hotel owner who called her out publicly for asking about a free stay at the establishment.
Paul Stenson, the owner of the White Moose Cafe, slammed the influencer in a scathing post that went viral.
"Thank you for your email looking for free accommodation in return for exposure," he wrote. "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? … Lucky for us, we too have a significant social media following."
Mr Stenson didn't name the influencer, but it didn't take long for followers to figure out who it was.
The influencer, Elle Darby, uploaded a tearful video on YouTube saying she had received death threats and was struggling in the wake of the backlash against her.