An American man in Thailand could face up to two years in prison after posting negative reviews about a resort online.
Wesley Barnes, who currently lives in Thailand, made a visit to the Sea View Koh Chang resort and was unhappy about a $15 corkage fee he was faced with when he brought his own bottle of gin with him to the getaway’s restaurant.
Barnes acknowledged in his review that the fee was waived but added that after seeing an aggressive interaction between a manager at the establishment and one of its employees, “there was some master/slave mentality going on.”
He also posted multiple reviews on TripAdvisor and Google in relation to the incident, giving the resort the lowest rating possible.
Thailand has strong defamation laws, which means reviewers can face hefty consequences for voicing their displeasure. Barnes was arrested on Saturday and spent the weekend in jail.
The resort says it attempted to get in contact with Barnes to resolve the issue, but eventually, it was forced to report the problem to the authorities.
“We agree that using a defamation law may be viewed as excessive for this situation,” the Sea View acknowledged in a statement to the New York Times. “However, the guest refused to respond to our attempts at communication and instead continued to persistently post negative and untrue reviews of our business.”
TripAdvisor said in a statement it is “opposed to the idea that a traveler can be prosecuted for expressing opinions.”
“Thankfully, on a global basis, prosecutions like this are rare and hundreds of millions of travelers are able to express themselves freely without facing criminal charges,” the statement said.
The Washington Examiner reached out to the State Department for comment but did not immediately receive a response.
Tags: News, Thailand, tripadvisor, Travel
Original Author: Haley Victory Smith
Original Location: American in Thailand faces possibility of jail time for negative resort reviews