Crime & Justice

TripAdvisor defends US national facing Thai lawsuit for negative review

Bangkok, Sep 29 (efe-epa).- TripAdvisor said Tuesday it was in contact with the United States embassy in Thailand after a US citizen was sued for defamation by a hotel he criticized on the popular review website.

Wesley Barnes stayed at the Sea View Resort on island of Koh Chang, a tourist hotspot in the Gulf of Thailand, in June and left negative reviews about the hotel and its staff on TripAdvisor.

The hotel filed a defamation lawsuit against him and he was detained on 12 September before being freed on bail. He is to appear in court next month to hear the case against him.

If convicted, he could face up to two years in prison as well as a 200,000 baht ($6,323) fine.

“TripAdvisor is opposed to the idea that a traveler can be prosecuted for expressing opinions,” the review platform told Efe in a statement.

“We are continuing our investigation into this incident and are in the process of reaching out to the US Embassy in Thailand.”

In his now-deleted reviews, Barnes accused some foreigners working in the hotel of “treating the workers like slaves” and the restaurant manager of being “extremely rude with the customers.”

The accused recommended avoiding the hotel like the coronavirus.

Tom Sturop, the room manager of the resort, told Efe in an email that the hotel filed the complaint based on four reviews written a couple of weeks ago.

“This was a premeditated attack on us that seemed to continue week after week and we did not know when his attacks would end,” Sturop said.

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