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Elle Darby vs. Paul Stenson (Charleville Lodge Hotel in Dublin)


If you haven’t heard of Elle Darby or Paul Stenson, then you are in for a treat! Here is the short version of this cautionary tale (source:

  • British YouTube Vlogger, Elle Darby, sent an email to Paul Stenson, the owner of the Charleville Lodge Hotel in Dulbin, to request for a free stay in exchange for social media promotion.
  • Instead of saying a simple “No, thank you!”, Paul Stenson posted the email online along with his brutal honest response (without posting Darby’s identity).
  • Darby exposed herself by creating a video for her audiences about Stenson’s response.
  • She, then, claimed herself as a victim of cyberbully by Stenson and 30-year-plus people (who claim she is being an entitled brat)
  • Paul Stenson has decided to ban all bloggers from his hotel and invoiced Darby approximately $6.5M for publicity.
Source: BusinessInsider

Elle Darby is a 22-year-old girl who most likely hasn’t had a real job or any life experience. As I can hear it in my mind, she will respond with ‘You don’t know what I’ve been through. You don’t know me.’ Take away all of her social media platform – what does she have? She will be forced to step into real life and applied for jobs like any of us.

Best of my learning experience came from brutal honesty – did I like it at first? No! Shoot – we are born perfect so how dare you to say I can do better or stop doing what I enjoy. First job out of college – my boss was listening to my phone call while I was feeling confident and proud. After I hung up, my boss said ‘That was terrible (yes he did not say terrific as I hope). You sounded like a child. It’s a business call so be professional. You need to say yes and not yea.’ There goes a sniper who just assassinated some of my self-esteem. A sprinkle of anger started to creep in as I tried to justify my ‘child-like’ persona – “He doesn’t know anything. People prefer talking to people who sound natural.’’

Elle Darby has to take rejection like the rest of us. Can Paul Stenson use a better approach? I am sure he could’ve. I am sure she had gotten plenty of rejection (a simply no) before and she learned to move on without knowing why they said no. This time Stenson took a step further and gave her an honest truth. If she has to courage (as Stenson said ‘the balls’) to ask for freebie, then she should be prepared for whatever response she may receive.

However, Paul Stenson – well played on the $6.5M invoice because now you are opening yourself up for an invoice yourself.

Whose side are you on?

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