It’s trouble in heaven.
A man could be jailed for negative reviews of a Thai hotel, possibly risking up to two years behind bars for criticism.
Wesley Barnes was sued by Sea View Resort after writing a negative post with a one-star review on Tripadvisor, the AFP reported on Saturday. The Koh Chang island hotel claims that the American man has written multiple reviews on different sites, denouncing his business.
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“The staff weren’t friendly. Nobody could smile,” a Tripadvisor review by Barnes reported, according to a screenshot by travel blogger Richard Barrow tweeted Saturday. “The restaurant manager was very rude and full of himself. He is from the Czech Republic. There are other hotels with nicer staff. Avoid this place like it̵
Colonel Thanapon Taemsara of the Koh Chang police confirmed that the hotel had filed a complaint, with Barnes accused of damaging Sea View’s reputation and arguing with staff that he did not want to pay a late fee for alcohol that led to the resort.
“The owner of the Sea View Resort filed a complaint that the defendant posted unfair reviews of his hotel on the Tripadvisor website,” Taemsara told AFP.
Sea View officials say they are suing Barnes because he has slammed the resort on multiple websites in the past few weeks. In June, the man allegedly accused the location of “modern slavery,” which was soon removed by Tripadvisor for violating the travel website’s guidelines.
The critic was arrested and taken back to Koh Chang, where he was briefly detained and released on bail, AFP said.
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Thailand’s infamous anti-defamation laws have long drawn the ire of human rights groups; if Barnes were convicted, he could be sent to two years in prison and fined approximately $ 6,315 (200,000 baht).
When reached for comment, a Tripadvisor spokesperson told Fox News that the travel company is investigating the incident and shared the following statement:
“Tripadvisor is against the idea that a traveler can be prosecuted for expressing opinions. Fortunately, on a global basis, proceedings like this are rare and hundreds of millions of travelers are able to speak freely without facing criminal charges, “the spokesman said.
“Tripadvisor was created with the premise that consumers have the right to write their own travel or culinary experiences, good or bad, as these reviews are one of the most effective ways for others to find it all. that is good in this world. Travelers benefit from the transparency of hundreds of millions of honest reviews provided on our platform. Likewise, the platform allows hoteliers and other travel-related businesses to respond to criticism and engage guests. travelers in what we hope will be meaningful and positive dialogues “.
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“We continue to support our users’ right to provide honest, positive or negative and constructive feedback to the millions of businesses on our site,” the Tripadvisor spokesperson continued. “We are continuing our investigation into this incident and are about to contact the US Embassy in Thailand.”