A man who was visiting Thailand from the United States was arrested and is currently facing two years in prison for posting negative reviews of a hotel that he stayed at. Wesley Barnes spent time at The Sea View Resort on the island of Koh Chang while he was in Thailand earlier this year and he ended up leaving some harsh reviews for the place after leaving, allegedly accusing the resort of “modern day slavery.”
According to the resort, the conflict began when Barnes wanted to bring a bottle of his own alcohol while dining in the restaurant, which was against their policy. The incident triggered an argument, and the hotel says that Barnes “caused a commotion” and refused to pay a corkage fee.
Once the manager was forced to intervene, the fee was waived, but Barnes was still upset, and left a series of negative reviews for the resort. The resort sued Mr. Barnes for defamation, and then he ended up spending two nights in prison before getting out on bail. The anti-defamation laws in Thailand are extremely harsh, and could lead to up to two years in prison.
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Mr. Barnes told the BBC that the review about modern-day slavery was never actually published because it violated TripAdvisor’s guidelines.
The management of the resort said that they made multiple attempts to reach out to Barnes about his review before contacting the authorities.
“We chose to file a complaint to serve as a deterrent, as we understood he may continue to write negative reviews week after week for the foreseeable future. Despite our multiple efforts to contact him to resolve the matter in an amicable way for well over a month, he chose to ignore us completely. He only replied to us when he had been notified of our complaint by the authorities,” the hotel said in a statement.
The hotel said that numerous guests canceled their reservations and asked about the treatment of employees after the reviews were posted.
Barnes is due back in court in early October.
IMAGE FEATURED: Frank Annotee