This simple gesture of giving stars, notes and making a small comment in sites evaluation of restaurants and hotels can have serious consequences. That’s what an American who works in Thailand discovered. He accused the resort practicing “modern day slavery” and was prosecuted for defamation, a crime punishable by up to two years imprisonment in the country.
The Sea View Resort considers that the criticisms are unfounded and that they damage the hotel’s reputation, reason enough to sue Wesley Barnes. “The owner complains that the defendant posted unfair criticisms on the TripAdvisor website,” the police source tells AFP.
Defamation over a bottle of wine
Wesly Barnes’ complaints start with dinner at resort from Koh Chang island earlier this year when he wanted to take his own bottle of wine to the table and refused to pay the cork fee, that is, the service of opening the bottle. The discussion with the waiter will only have ended with the intervention of the space manager, details the BBC.
After the incident, Wesley Barnes published several posts with negative reviews, which prompted the hotel to sue him for defamation.
According to the hotel, Warren Barnes’ criticisms are “false” and defamatory “and” manufactured, recurring and malicious “. posts, the North American states that the hotel practices “slavery of modern times” – other of the statements that led the hotel to sue the former customer, but that Barnes guarantees that it never got published for going against the guidelines of the TripAdvisor platform, as told the BBC.
Warren Barnes was arrested by the police (spent two nights in prison), before being released. He will not be released from the trial, facing a prison sentence of up to two years.
The American says the lawsuit led to his dismissal and the publicity around him has only made the case worse. He fears he will not find a job again, he said, adding that he was very “scared” about the possibility of being arrested, after experiencing it in the two days he spent in prison. He will be heard in early October, but he still hopes to reach an agreement with the hotel.
For its part, the resort claims that it tried unsuccessfully to contact Warren Barnes to reach an agreement before suing the client, but that he only responded when notified by the authorities. They also say they decided to move forward as a way to dissuade the customer from continuing to post “negative reviews week after week” that prompted several booking cancellations.