Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, testified Wednesday during the House impeachment inquiry that there was “quid pro quo,” and Yelp reviewers are telling people to just say “no” to his hotels.
Some Yelp reviewers want people to change where they stay because of Sondland’s involvement in the Trump administration.
The moneyed hotelier’s name has been getting publicly trashed by the left since a whistleblower’s complaint stated that Sondland had advised Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky about how to handle President Donald Trump’s demands. Sondland originally said there was no “quid pro quo,” but his statements Wednesday before the House panel reversed that stance.
Sondland, whose net worth reportedly sits just above $60 million, made his fortune through his Portland, Oregon-based company Provenance Hotels. The luxury-hotel business has six hotels in the City of Roses, in addition to 14 other properties in five other states, including California, Minnesota and Massachusetts.
Markas “Pharmahuascero” A. of Beaverton, Oregon, called Sondland “a traitor” in Yelp posts about some of Sondland’s hotels and restaurants, urging employees to quit their jobs if they “have a shred of decency and patriotism.”
“If you work there or stay there, you are part of supporting a traitor against the United States,” he wrote. “He is confessing live on public television right now.”
St. Paul, Minnesota-based Susan T. wrote that she had planned to book a girls’ weekend at the Lora in Stillwater, Minnesota, but she changed her plans once she realized Sondland was its owner.
The businessman is no longer named CEO and isn’t involved in the daily operations of the company, according to his recent personal financial disclosure and a statement a Provenance Hotels spokesperson gave to the Portland Business Journal.
For some reviewers, such as Mick. S. of Encinitas, California, Sondland had already been tainted in his eyes when the multimillionaire gave $1 million to the president’s inaugural committee through four companies.
“If you’re looking for a hotel owned by a Trump supporter who gave the campaign a million dollars in exchange for an ambassadorship that he’s unqualified for so he can extort foreign leaders into attacking fellow Americans, look no further,” he wrote in a one-star review of the Revolution Hotel in Boston.
Karin “The Rolfer” W. of Portland, Oregon, wrote that she used to be an infrequent patron of the Heathman Hotel until she realized Sondland was the owner.
“[He] not only donated $1 million to Trump’s campaign but also was heavily involved in the Trump Ukraine scandal. I won’t be patronizing this business anymore, nor the others that he owns,” she wrote, listing other Provenance Hotels.
Ellen Carmichael, a spokeswoman for Provenance Hotels, said: “We have pointed out to Yelp that these reviews are at odds with their own rules that forbid people using that platform to advance a political agenda. We are urging them to remedy that, as they have done in many other such situations.”
When a business makes the news or does something controversial, its Yelp page can be affected, said Kathleen Liu, a spokesperson for Yelp, in a statement.
“Media-fueled reviews typically violate our Terms of Service and Content Guidelines, one of which deals with relevance,” she said. “For example, reviews aren’t the place for rants about a business’ employment practices, political ideologies, extraordinary circumstances, or other matters that don’t address the core of the consumer experience.”
Reviewers who violate the guidelines are ultimately removed, she said.