More than a dozen travelers from around the United States say reviews website TripAdvisor is deleting and muzzling their first-hand accounts of rape, blackouts and other injuries suffered during vacations to Mexico, according to an extensive investigation published Wednesday by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The damning report comes two days after U.S. officials called on the State Department and the Office of the Inspector General to conduct additional investigations on Mexican resorts that are serving dangerous, bootleg alcohol.
Tourists who spoke to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel say the posts are frequently removed because they are labeled by TripAdvisor as “hearsay.”
“To me it’s like censoring,” Wendy Avery-Swanson of Phoenix told the newspaper after her review of a Mexican resort – in which she said she blacked out after being served alcohol at a swim-up bar – was scrubbed off the website. “It wasn’t hearsay. It actually happened to me.”
EXCLUSIVE: Did TripAdvisor remove warnings about rapes and injuries at Mexico resorts? These tourists say so. https://t.co/F0WEDuEq5P
— Journal Sentinel (@journalsentinel) November 1, 2017
Among the other claims reportedly removed from the site:
- Kristie Love, 35, of Dallas, posted in 2010 that she had been raped by a security guard at the Iberostar Paraiso resort near Playa Del Carmen. She wrote in the post that she was followed by the guard, who later overpowered her and raped her in the bushes. She also claimed the hotel staff refused to call police. The post was taken down for violating “family friendly” guidelines, a TripAdvisor moderator ruled, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
- Jamie Valeri, 34, of Wisconsin, wrote in 2015 she was sexually assaulted and her husband suffered a broken hand at the same resort after they blacked out in the middle of the day, just into their third drink. Valeri’s account was corroborated by the newspaper through receipts, email and phone records, medical reports and interviews. Yet TripAdvisor removed her posts, calling them “hearsay.”
- Josh Resmini tried to post a review of the Grand Velas Riviera Maya resort on Oct. 16 in which he claimed he was drugged and sexually assaulted by a massage therapist. He told the newspaper the hotel denied responsibility and a day after filing the review, TripAdvisor told him it would not be allowed to be published, once again, citing “hearsay” as the reason.
The Massachusetts-based travel giant says it employs hundreds of people to police the content of its 535-million user reviews of hotels and restaurants around the world and uses software to detect fake ones.
TripAdvisor gets money from some hotels when tourists click on their links, while others pay commissions for bookings, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
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SOURCE: Fox News