This report was updated Monday with information from the Grand Velas
Riviera Maya, which says the TripAdvisor warning for its resort should
TripAdvisor has flagged three Mexico resorts where reviewers
have alleged they were sexually assaulted, adding vague warnings atop the
listings of Iberostar Paraiso Maya, Iberostar Paraiso Lindo and Grand Velas
In red tinted boxes with red print, TripAdvisor wrote: "TripAdvisor
has been made aware of recent media reports or events concerning this property
which may not be reflected in reviews found on this listing. Accordingly, you
may wish to perform additional research for information about this property
when making your travel plans."
In a statement sent to Travel Weekly, the Grand Velas said the warning should be removed because "we firmly believe the alleged incident did not happen." In this case, a reviewer alleged he was sexually assaulted during a massage at the spa.
"We cooperated with the police who investigated the matter
fully," the Grand Velas said. "Both our investigation and the police investigation concluded that the
reviewer's allegations were not supported by any evidence and were inconsistent
with various facts. We firmly believe that the alleged incident did not happen.
Last year we had close to 25,000 services performed in our spa in the Riviera
Maya without any incident. We have provided thorough documentation to
TripAdvisor for their committee to reevaluate the badge's placement and look
forward to seeing its removal shortly."
TripAdvisor's new policy follows a Milwaukee Journal
Sentinel report in which a woman said she was raped at Iberostar Paraiso Maya
in 2010. She, and other TripAdvisor reviewers, said their posts detailing
experiences in which they were assaulted or injured were declined or deleted.
"We apologize to the sexual assault victim reported on
in the article, who had her forum post removed seven years ago on TripAdvisor,"
the company said in a statement Friday. "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. A few years ago, we updated that policy to
allow more descriptive reviews and content about first-hand accounts of serious
incidents like rape or assault. Even at that time, we recognized that our
previous guidelines went too far in preventing information like this from being
As for the warnings, the company says its "vetting of
news reports continues and it is likely more businesses will receive this badge
as more information is reviewed." TripAdvisor will employ such badges for
as long as three months, though may extend that time frame "if issues
TripAdvisor also addressed claims that its decision to
remove or decline certain posts was impacted by its relationships with hotels
and resorts, which pay TripAdvisor when visitors click through the site to book
"TripAdvisor has always maintained -- since our
founding -- a strict separation between our commerce and content businesses,"
the company said. "Despite assertions and statements made by a recent USA
Today/Journal Sentinel article, there is no tie between commercial
relationships with our partners and how our content guidelines are applied to reviews
or forum posts published on the site.