Barbaric Yelp

Yelp Sides With the Chef Who Facebook-Stalked an Online Reviewer

Boycotters get a free meal, alcohol not included.
Boycotters get a free meal, alcohol not included. Photo: ninjacitykitchenbar/Instagram

Two weeks ago, the chef-owner of Cleveland restaurant Ninja City had a complete meltdown after Yelper Ruchu Tan “[told] it like it is” and attacked his ramen in a one-star review, resulting in a flurry of 11 extremely racist, sexist, and generally horrible Facebook messages. To his credit, Nguyen finally posted a public statement last Thursday where he called his actions “horrible” and apologized for misinterpreting Tan’s review “as personal,” which Tan and the boycotters accepted. He’s also offered them the ultimate olive branch in the form of a complimentary meal — so, end of the matter, right?

Unfortunately not: The group had originally also called out Yelp for, among other things, sending Tan what they saw as a weirdly threatening personal email. It appears Yelp has made good on the threat; on Friday, it pulled part of Tan’s review, and banned him from posting again on the Ninja City page. The email noted the controversy, then said Tan violated the Content Guidelines by being off topic, rather than focusing on “your own everyday customer experience.”

Not looking great.
Not looking great. Photo: Cassandra Rose Tannenbaum/New York Magazine

So now the group has shifted its ire to Yelp, arguing the ban is arbitrary and “directly conflicts” with the site’s image “as a champion of consumer rights.” Ever since a court earlier this year ruled Yelp can reorder reviews essentially however it pleases, consumers have developed a healthy new fear of the site. Policing is necessary, but if the point is keeping reviews on topic, the Ninja City page has a few others in need of attention, starting with this one-star offering that reads “Just cause.”

Related: This Restaurateur Tracked Down and Stalked a Yelper
[imgur, Ninja City,]

Yelp Sides With the Chef Who Facebook-Stalked an Online Reviewer