As far as older generations are concerned, millennials are stone-cold killers. Pick pretty much any industry, and chances are it’s been maimed by the hand of some broke and hungry millennial. Still, the online obsession and stubbornness of the generation can get annoying, especially when their famously-entitled personalities come out to play.
At the same time, not everyone is willing to put up with a millennial’s every whim, as proven by one hotel and café owner. In fact, when he received a demanding request from a 22-year-old social media influencer, he knew something drastic had to be done…so he started to type with a fury.
Most hotels go the extra mile to make their customers happy, from providing outstanding complimentary breakfasts to satisfying the customer’s every whim. But the Charleville Lodge Hotel in Dublin has a different strategy when it comes to customer service.
Both the Charleville Lodge Hotel and the White Moose Café are owned and managed by Paul Stenson, and if you don’t know who he is, then look no further than pretty much any social media platform. He’s on there, and he’s out for blood.
The two businesses are known for being fairly…bold on social media. Rather, Paul Stenson is bold. He has what many would call “unpopular opinions” about the world, particularly about modern fads and, well, pretty much the entire Millennial generation as a whole.
Stenson makes his opinions known, as proven by this ad that refers to his own hotel’s service as “by no means excellent, which is reflected in the amount of money you’re paying us.” Clearly, Stentson is all about being blunt…
In fact, Stenson is often surrounded by controversy thanks to his sarcastic statements on social media. He has lashed out against vegans, non-alcohol drinkers, and people with gluten-free diets by calling them “precious snowflakes” that “we don’t want…in our café.”
He has also received backlash for cynical albeit humorous social media posts aimed at annoying customers. His “screaming child tax” — and extra 15% on the bill — resulted in his being reported to the authorities. We guess it’s difficult to get on Stenson’s good side, as one influencer discovered for herself.
Stenson isn’t afraid to tell it like it is, which is exactly what happened when he discovered what looked like an ordinary email in his inbox. It was from a social media influencer and YouTuber, and she had an unusual request.
The influencer in question, Elle Darby, didn’t see the problem with her email: She offered social media exposure for the hotel in exchange for free room and board. A few free nights at the self-described “adequate” hotel— that’s not asking for too much…right?
In case Stenson was skeptical about the value she brought, Darby referred to when she boosted the exposure of a famously-struggling business: “Last year I worked with Universal Orlando in Florida and it’s been amazing for them!”
She ended her email by saying she “looked forward to hearing” from Stenson — a sentiment she would most likely come to regret. When Paul read the email, it touched a particularly sensitive Millennial-hating nerve. He had some choice words for Darby and influencers in general.
In his scathing response, he let his anti-influencer flag fly. “Maybe I should tell my staff they will be featured in your video in lieu of receiving payment,” he wrote. Then he hit Darby with an ultra-embarrassing burn.
“We have 186k followers on our two Facebook pages, 32k on Instagram, and a paltry 12k on our Twitter,” he wrote sarcastically. Before Darby completely dissolved from the sheer power of the burn, he went it for the kill.
“The above stats do not make me any better than anyone else or afford me the right to not pay for something,” he wrote. In case Darby was confused, he ended his email with a short but sweet P.S.: “The answer is no.”
Paul’s savage response quickly turned into the mic-drop heard ‘round the world when he shared it on social media. Soon after, people started to debate who was in the wrong: The entitled but well-meaning influencer, or the snarky but justified hotel manager?
“Influencers — another name for self-entitled Kardashian wannabes,” one person commented. “Influencers are nothing more than useless professional beggars,” another Facebook-user wrote. A majority of the support seemed to go to Paul and his insults.
But others felt that Paul’s response was out of line. “This was a legit request and I think completely appropriate, you can choose to accept or decline,” the Darby-defender wrote. Despite some support, however, Darby was mainly slammed with hate.
Darby herself took to YouTube with her own tearful response. “People [are] telling me that I should die, that they hope my children get cancer,” she said. “People [need] to take responsibility for what they’re saying over a screen,” she said.
But by now, it’s obvious that Paul wasn’t about to let this viral moment slip through his fingers. The White Moose Café soon posted another “banned” post, and this time, it was with one very specific group as the target.
“I have taken the decision to ban all bloggers from our hotel and café,” Paul wrote. He then offered wayward bloggers some sage advice: “Perhaps if you went out and got real jobs you’d be able to pay for goods and services like everybody else.”
The Clapback King ended things on a high-note by adding a new tongue-in-cheek decoration to the White Moose Café: a canister apparently filled with the anguished tears of bloggers. It looked right at home next to a similar jar labeled “ashes of vegans.” Of course, even Paul had limits.
Paul, like many others, isn’t afraid to pick a fight when he can do so from the comfort of his own home. It’s easy and good for business! However, many other influencers are risking life and limb to make a splash online — even if it results in a total meltdown.
In 2019, influencers started packing their bags and heading to the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. You might know that as the site of the massive 1986 nuclear meltdown that released of ton of radioactive gas into the surrounding area.
For nine straight days, radiation poured out until the government could finally suppress it, but so much damage was already done. Tens of thousands of people were evacuated, but many were already exposed to a deadly amount. The damage was catastrophic.
In fact, specially trained people were called in to handle the crisis. They were known as the “Chernobyl liquidators.” These brave workers put their health at risk to ensure the catastrophe didn’t go on for even longer. Influencers knew this.
They also knew that the level of radioactivity is nowhere near what it was at the time of the meltdown, but there are still pockets of land that have unhealthy amounts. For this reason, visits have fairly strict time limits put on them. Some visitors are wise; others aren’t.
Because the incident was so devastating — a the story behind the disaster is fascinating — it draws crowds from all over who want to learn more. Some of these crowds have less-than-respectful intentions.
The respectful visitors might opt for a guided tour of the plant; one of the first things they see is that tribute to those who died trying to contain the mess. It reminds visitors what it all means — the weight of everything. But not everyone takes the site seriously.
See, one of the most important things people need to understand when they visit is how necessary it is to show respect. Many people suffered as a result of the accident, but unfortunately, not everyone who visits displays the same level of respect.
Social media influencers have been showing up more and more trying to snap photos and make videos of themselves hanging out on the ruins of Chernobyl — and not everyone sees it as “cool.”
In a world where people place such high value on the number of views or followers they get online, influencers need to find ridiculous ways to garner attention. For some, this means wandering through collapsed buildings and exposing themselves to radiation.
These social media users are sneaking around Chernobyl outside the confines of tour groups to gain access to areas the public really shouldn’t be exploring for many different reasons.
First of all, certain areas are incredibly dangerous, and this photo proves it. No tour guide in their right mind would ever lead people to the end of a rickety old platform. But, a photo like this certainly gets likes on Instagram.
Another danger these people face is over-exposure to radioactivity. Sure, it might seem cool at the time to take a picture standing in a danger zone, but how cool will it be years from now when they develop cancerous nodes on their lungs?
The creator of the Chernobyl series on HBO, Craig Mazin, urged influencers to cool it with all the selfies and artsy pictures at the site — and for good reason. It shows blatant disregard of the effect the accident actually caused.
Take this photo, for example. This guy used an effect to make it look like he had four arms and three eyes, which was probably to signify the effects of radiation. However, the actual effects of radiation are painful and horrific.
In ’86, citizens of Pripyat were evacuated from their homes, terrified of what would happen to them. Now social media users like this woman are striking sullen poses for their Instagram accounts at a place they probably know very little about.
Unfortunately, so long as social media is around, people are going to do whatever they can to get the most followers. If that means taking photos they deem “hip” or “trendy” at the site of a disaster, you better believe they’ll keep doing it.