Charleston woman says bad restaurant review led to online harassment

One woman cyberbullied after posting a bad review on a local restaurant’s Facebook page. She says the harassment isn’t stopping and she’s getting scared.

The woman, who we are calling Joy to protect her identity, went to a local restaurant with her family earlier this month. She was not happy with how long her family had to wait to be seated, so they went to another restaurant and posted a poor review on the restaurant’s Facebook page. A restaurant blogger shared the post and Joy says she has been harassed non-stop ever since.

Joy asked to remain completely anonymous during the interview because she is scared for her family’s safety.

The original post read: “Stupidest reason to loose customers!!!! Making them wait for almost 30 minutes for tables when there were PLENTY (I counted at least 5 and 4 that were being cleaned)… when asked, we were told that the kitchen was behind, SO WE HAD TO SUFFER BY STANDING until they caught up?!?!?!?!?!?!  WHAT THE HECK? so we left and went to a better restaurant. Much better WELCOMING attitude and better food!”

It started with that negative feedback on Facebook and the post made it into the hands of a blogger who posts about working in the food and beverage industry. Joy says it snowballed from there.

She says, “I don’t think I’ve ever been hit in the face with that much anger and bitterness and hatred than I did with this. I crumbled. I went upstairs and I stayed upstairs for like 2 days. It was just horrendous.”

She got more than 80 direct Facebook messages and hundreds of comments on the post. Some read: “Stay away from Maine restaurants you fat uneducated cow. Us mainers don’t have a problem telling you to go **** yourself and make a sandwich at home. Feed that deep hole inside of you.” And, “Your post went viral, the world gets to see what a **** you are, have a good day, from a server.”

She says what really hit home is when the posts started including photos and comments about her family. One read, “I wouldn’t expect much different from some who dressed their family in matching shirts on vacations.”

She says by showing her photo and posting the link to her Facebook, the blogger made her and her family vulnerable.

Joy says, “I even had people saying they want to punch me in the face if they ever saw me, they wanted to punch me in the throat if they ever saw me. Why would I ever want to go out again?”

She says she reached out to Facebook about the harassment and they told her there is not much that can be done except blocking the people who message her.

News 2 reached out to the blogger who originally shared the review, Darron Cardosa. He says, “Man, did that blog post get out of control. When I post something, I never know if it will be seen by a few hundred people or thousands. This post went a tiny bit viral which was good for me as I have a book coming out in April and any publicity is good publicity.”

He says the review was sent to him by one of his readers, and he wanted to use it as an opportunity to explain why a restaurant may not seat customers even though there are open tables in sight.

Cardosa says, “I never asked or expected anyone to do anything other than read the post on my blog and then go on to the next thing on the Internet. I did not include a link to her Facebook page and I eventually even concealed her name on the image on the blog when one of her friends asked me to do so. Originally, I left her name visible because I felt that if she was posting it on a public Facebook page then she obviously wanted people to see her complaint.”

When asked about the harassment he said, “Although I feel bad about it and I am sorry for all the drama, I cannot be responsible for what other people decide to do once they read my blog. Had (Joy) ever asked me to delete the blog post, I would have done so. I have done that many times in the past, but she never reached out to me. I had several online conversations with her friends and explained that I was sorry for all the drama, but (Joy) herself never asked me to do anything. Each time one of her friends would respond to the post it stirred up more controversy causing more people to see it.”

Following this response, Joy reached out to Cardosa asking him to delete the posts. He followed up with News 2 saying both the Facebook post and blog post have now been removed.

 

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