Following explosive allegations that TripAdvisor deleted multiple comments from users warning of sexual assault or rape at particular hotels in Mexico, the website has taken action to warn travellers.
TripAdvisor will now allocate symbols next to hotels and resorts where sexual assaults have allegedly taken place, The New York Times reports,
“These badges will remain on TripAdvisor for up to three months. However, if the issues persist we may extend the duration of the badge,” company spokesman, Kevin Carter said. “These badges are intended to be informative, not punitive.”
Three locations in the Playa del Carmen region of Mexico have been flagged by TripAdvisor so far.
In 2010, Dallas woman Kristie Love logged on to travel website TripAdvisor to leave a scathing review.
Love explained how she had been staying a luxury Mexican beach resort when she had a problem with her electronic key card. She said she had gone to the lobby to ask for help from a unIformed security guard. The man then dragged her into the bushes and raped her. According to Love, the hotel staff did not call police.
As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s details in their exclusive report, Love posted her story on TripAdvisor, but it was then deleted by a moderator. In the company’s eyes, Love’s post was in violation of it’s “family friendly” guidelines.
Love is one of more than a dozen tourists who have accused TripAdvisor of deleting posts warning others about sexual assaults, robberies and other horrific experiences in Mexico. Some of the posts referred to the same resort as Love—which she had tried to desperately warn others about.
Following the explosive claims, TripAdvisor has issued an apology for deleting Loves post from 2010, NPR reports.
"We apologize to the sexual assault victim reported on in the article, who had her forum post removed seven years ago on TripAdvisor,” the statement reads.
“At the time, we had a policy whereby we judged content to be in breach of our guidelines if it did not adhere to family-friendly language. More than seven years ago that meant all language needed to be G-rated.”
The company said it has since changed their policy to allow “more descriptive reviews” that reference serious incidents such as rape and assault.
"We will continue to work to improve and evolve our moderation and publishing guidelines as we work to provide the most accurate information in the travel industry available online,” the statement concludes.
Love’s original post was also republished on October 19, seven years after she says she was raped. But it remains buried under thousands of other posts on the resort’s page.
You can read the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s entire report here.