Get All Access for $5/mo

The Hotel Owner Who Called Out a Blogger for Asking for a Free Stay Now Wants $6.5 Million From Her #BloggerGate rages on as hotel owner Paul Stenson continues to drag YouTuber Elle Darby.

By Lydia Belanger

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Elle Darby | Youtube

Hotel and café owner Paul Stenson isn't finished with his public shaming of Instagram and YouTube "influencer" Elle Darby, a controversy that's been dubbed #BloggerGate. He just invoiced her for the equivalent of $6.5 million.

If you're not caught up, on Jan. 16, Stenson posted a screenshot to Facebook of an email Darby had sent him, in which she requested a complimentary stay at his hotel, the Charleville Lodge, in exchange for videos and social media posts shared with her followers. His disdainful post shamed her: "Jesus Christ," Stenson wrote, "I would never in a million years ask anyone for anything for free."

Related: Irish Hotel Publicly Shames Social Media Influencer for Requesting Free Stay

Although Stenson obscured Darby's identity before posting the screenshot and accompanying message, Darby saw the post and responded with a 17-minute YouTube video expressing her embarrassment and hurt feelings. (In a week, the video has garnered nearly 2 million views.)

Darby's reaction video inspired backlash against Stenson by the blogger and influencer community. Stenson responded by posting additional updates to Facebook, including one in which he declared he is banning all bloggers from setting foot inside his businesses. He took Darby's request to help him generate publicity, rejected it, then used it to generate way more publicity than a couple of her posts ever would have.

And he's still not done roasting her.

As of Jan. 20, Dublin-based public relations agency ClearStory had counted 114 published news articles summarizing Stenson's disagreement with Darby, across 20 countries. These stories mentioning Darby added up to "a potential reach of 450 million people generating close to €4.3m in equivalent advertising spend," ClearStory calculated. In other words, the back and forth has generated $5.3 million worth of publicity for Darby.

Stenson has now used these figures to generate an invoice (below) for Darby, which he tweeted on Saturday, charging her the €4.3 million, plus value-added tax, for a total of approximately €5.3 million ($6.5 million).

And to squeeze out even more value from his tiff with Darby, Stenson on Monday tweeted out new T-shirts he's made.

Lydia Belanger is a former associate editor at Entrepreneur. Follow her on Twitter: @LydiaBelanger.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Branding

ChatGPT is Becoming More Human-Like. Here's How The Tool is Getting Smarter at Replicating Your Voice, Brand and Personality.

AI can be instrumental in building your brand and boosting awareness, but the right approach is critical. A custom GPT delivers tailored collateral based on your ethos, personality and unique positioning factors.

Business News

Is the AI Industry Consolidating? Hugging Face CEO Says More AI Entrepreneurs Are Looking to Be Acquired

Clément Delangue, the CEO of Hugging Face, a $4.5 billion startup, says he gets at least 10 acquisition requests a week and it's "increased quite a lot."

Growing a Business

He Immigrated to the U.S. and Got a Job at McDonald's — Then His Aversion to Being 'Too Comfortable' Led to a Fast-Growing Company That's Hard to Miss

Voyo Popovic launched his moving and storage company in 2018 — and he's been innovating in the industry ever since.

Business News

You Can Now Apply to Renew Your U.S. Passport Online — But There's a Catch

The U.S. State Department officially launched the beta program this week.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.

Business News

Apple Reportedly Isn't Paying OpenAI to Use ChatGPT in iPhones

The next big iPhone update brings ChatGPT directly to Apple devices.