Who will Yelp the Yelpers?
A Boston University professor received a public reprimand from his dean and negative attention from the Boston Globe, the Associated Press, and other local and national outlets for writing a negative review of a swank Cambridge, Massachusetts, eatery.
“Worst joint in all of New England—stay away!” Dick Hackbarth said of Kendell Square’s Café ArtScience. “Fat guy at door leaves when you enter and then tells you even with the reservation the wait is one hour…. We waited at bar for 1 ½ hours even though four (4) tables were empty throughout the wait—absolutely absurd.”
The employee singled out repeatedly as the “fat guy” appeared on local news as a slightly overweight gentleman. That “fat guy,” as well as the “Asian cool skinny dude at bar,” described the patron as unruly and insulting in interviews. They claim he showed up late for his reservation. Staff allegedly asked him to leave—before he could sample the Hamachi Ceviche with melon soda, huckleberry, and melon rind or the Fried Summer Squash with vadouvan yogurt and dill.
Soon thereafter, he exacted his revenge on Yelp. The review backfired, and the business professor/restaurant critic deleted the post. But describing the Asian bartender as “Asian” and the greeter as “fat” outraged locals, which led to a glut of media coverage for the online posting.
The restaurant near the Massachusetts Institute of Technology describes itself as “a cafe and culture lab committed to great casual drinks and dining alongside art, science, and design experiences that express audacious frontier dreams of tomorrow. ArtScience is a place and cultural movement where art experimentation and expression combines with science to pioneer a sustainable human future.”
Ken Freeman, dean of BU’s business school, explained in a statement: “We are aware of an inappropriate Yelp review posted by a member of our faculty. It does not represent our views and values. We are extremely disappointed by this occurrence.”
Earlier this year, a dean at Yale University stepped down from her position after writing controversial Yelp reviews referring to restaurant patrons as “white trash.”