Two Australian micro-influencers have been harassed after asking a restaurant for free food in exchange for social media posts.
Elle Groves, an influencer with about 5,200 followers, messaged a restaurant on Instagram last month saying that she and her friend Annie Knight, who has about 5,500 followers, would be happy to come and try the food “in exchange for some stories” on their personal accounts, as well as on their collaborative food Instagram account Two Teaspoons, which has approximately 2,600 followers.
“Would you be interested in doing this collaboration?” her message read, according to screenshots uploaded to Instagram by Australian newspaper food writer John Lethlean.
Lethlean did not directly name the restaurant, but tagged Melbourne-based Turkish restaurant Little Andorra in his post.
According to Lethlean’s post, the owner responded to Groves by writing, “Apologies for the delay. I’ve struggled with how much anger I have to demonstrate / throw at you.”
Reaching out blindly to a location you know nothing about in search of free stuff is ridiculous enough at the best of times,” continued the owner, who identified Insider as Luke Bresnan via LinkedIn. “But it’s even worse if COVID is still a thing and has been devastating small businesses like us for two years now.”
He added that like other restaurant owners, he has had to take another job elsewhere during his days off in order to pay his staff well.
The owner then shared some advice for the women: “Maybe give it a year or so and see what the business landscape looks like and see if you can get enough followers for your ‘collabs’ to actually mean something to the locations you so naively see.” , rather than just being useful to you.”
“Eat, drink, spend and tip instead of begging and you’re probably on the right track,” the owner signs.
In the weeks since Knight and Groves were first tackled by Lethlean and Little Andorra, they’ve responded by including funny captions on their food posts clarifying “Best meal I’ve ever paid for” and “Lol yes, we have paid for this.”
Both the owner and Lethlean cite #couscousforcomment, a hashtag where Australian social media users shame influencers who ask for free meals in exchange for social posts.
Insider has reached out to Groves, Knight, Bresnan, Two Teaspoons blog and Little Andorra for comment.
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