TripAdvisor Bans Sexual Harassment Warning Because of 'Feminism'

A TripAdvisor review is garnering a lot of attention for its description of a restaurant owner who allegedly sexually harassed an employee in front of the reviewer.


Christina Fowler wrote a review of the English pub The Bell At Westoning for the popular travel website, but ran into a slight hiccup when posting. Her review was taken down for containing “political” language.

The review, as Fowler recounts in the Guardian, described the restaurant’s food as great. But it was the behavior of the owner to a waitress that left a bad taste.

“While waiting for our bill I saw the owner come up behind a waitress (thinkJohn Travolta at the Oscars) and bite her on the shoulder,” she said. “It looked like a playful bite, not painful, but still a bite. The waitress didn’t even smile, let alone laugh. A few minutes later, I saw the owner approach the same waitress and slap her across the bum with a napkin. She spun around, at which point he pursed his lips and made kissing noises to her. Again, she wasn’t playing along or laughing, but seemed almost resigned to the attention. It was clear to me that she didn’t appreciate this type of treatment from her boss.”

When her original review was removed, Fowler received an automated email saying the review violated a sitewide rule.

TripAdvisor spokesman James Kay said the review was removed because it breached guidelines which asks reviewers to refrain from personal political, ethical or religious commentary.

After the words “misogynistic,” “feminism” and “International Women’s Day” were removed from the review, it was restored by the site. But despite the fact that these restrictions might prevent more controversial or offensive words, Fowler still takes issue.

“The whole incident has left many questions in my mind,” Fowler said. “Why is the word ‘feminism’ still so emotive Why is equality still such a political issue in 2015 Would TripAdvisor have deleted a review if it was describing a racist incident”

At the very least, the travel review website did allow the substance of her criticism, if not the precise vocabulary. Though, the current reply to the Fowler review from the restaurant denies that the reviewer saw what she claims she saw, but the restaurant’s original response, captured for posterity on shinyshiny, contained a rather sharper response:

On TripAdvisor we are not here to discuss or comment on feminism or who makes ‘kissy’ noises; the latter is something we believe pre-school children may discuss. It is such a shame that you spent your time focusing on your feministic views and not our food; had you done so you may have actually found something interesting to write about that would be of interest to others.

Unusually, that initial response began with “Please note this reply is from the Manageress and I am female” on the account of Roberto P of The Bell At Westoning.

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