People around the world rely on sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor for honest, firsthand information from fellow travelers regarding the safety, quality, and service provided at hotels and resorts. Search results that include a 4.5 out of 5 stars rating and a TripAdvisor “Certificate of Excellence” should indicate that travelers staying at this resort can expect a safe, clean, environment in which they will not be drugged and raped or assaulted, right?
It would seem not.
In 2010, Kristie Love, a Dallas mother of two, was raped by a security guard while staying at the Iberostar Paraiso Maya located in Mexico on the Yucatan Penninsula. Love bravely wrote a review on the resort’s TripAdvisor page detailing the assault in an attempt to warn other women who may be considering a stay at the Iberostar, but TripAdvisor removed her review claiming that the content was “inappropriate” and violated their guidelines because it was not “family friendly.”
At least two other women have come forward stating that they were also assaulted at the Iberostar Paraiso Maya — one in 2011 and one in 2015. Jamie Valeri, who stayed at the resort in 2015 and claimed that she was assaulted by resort staff after she and her husband’s drinks were drugged, also attempted to warn other users of the assault on TripAdvisor. Her review was also removed — this time because the company claimed it was “hearsay.”
According to Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporters Raquel Rutledge and Andrew Mollica, who investigated the claims of Love and over a dozen others that TripAdvisor had removed reviews detailing rape or assault,
“A Journal Sentinel investigation into the workings of the $1.5 billion company has found that it is what TripAdvisor does not publish that poses real problems for travelers.”
After the Sentinel article was published, TripAdvisor made an official statement claiming that they had changed their policy “a few years ago” to allow more “colorful” language in user reviews:
— TripAdvisor (@TripAdvisor) November 2, 2017
Ok, TripAdvisor. If you are taking this issue so seriously and are so concerned for the well-being of your users, then why is the resort in question still on your site as a 4.5 star resort which you personally recommend with a 2017 “Certificate of Excellence?” And why was Jamie Valeri’s post removed? Hearsay? She was the one who was assaulted. Are you now requiring people to prove their claims in their reviews? Or does that only apply to cases of sexual assault?
Thanks for perpetuating rape culture, and for preventing these women from warning others of a possible assault.
I will be relying on Yelp from here on out.
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