Hungry—for freebies | Inquirer Lifestyle
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Hungry—for freebies

Manila’s foodie community was abuzz the past weeks when two lifestyle bloggers separately posted blind items on Facebook (FB) about the alleged unethical practices of a certain food blogger/businessman.

One of the FB posters, a lifestyle blogger who’s also a public relations (PR) consultant, said it was a warning to business owners and PR and marketing people. It details accusations against the food blogger, from the alleged systemic practice of aggressively “begging” for freebies, even from small home-based food entrepreneurs, to alleged unsavory tactics to get brands and restaurants to “collab.”

The FB post, which includes screenshots of private chats with the alleged miscreant that claim to prove the misdeeds, couldn’t have come at a worse time, when the food/restaurant industry is bleeding due to the pandemic, and small home businesses are trying to get by.

The food blogger was said to have created a group chat with newbie food bloggers and advised them to tell restaurants “you miss them” to get them to “collab” (read: send free food). The post said this blogger tells restos and home-based businesses it’s either his birthday, his fiancee’s birthday, or some other occasion—“for extra budol,” the poster writes snidely.

The PR consultant said they’ve been “tolerating” the food blogger only because they thought his “influence”—Instagram following tops 50,000—would be beneficial to clients. It alleges the blogger also gatecrashes events.

The blogger also privately trashes some of the food being sent him, while promoting it on his social media channels (side-by-side screenshots of private chats and Instagram posts). The blogger, who is said to own restaurants, claims to be the “no. 1 food reviewer” of a popular restaurant app.

Other accusations have surfaced. One alleges this blogger, who also runs an events company, had unpleasant dealings with charities and hospitals, including a kids’ cancer center, which claims to have been shortchanged by the blogger’s company.

On the blogger’s Facebook page, he posted a three-paragraph apology for his “mistakes.” The page has since been deleted or deactivated. —CVM