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Dozens of accusing TripAdvisor with regard to sexual violence; petition requirements amendment of the policy

In the petition, which aims to change how TripAdvisor handles sexual assault, K. K. claims that she was raped by a tour guide that she had found on TripAdvisor, while on an international trip.
(Reuters)

TripAdvisor has been accused by dozens of users with respect to sexual violence after a petition proved to be the platform refused to remove a business from the site, even if an employee had been accused of raping a woman.

The alleged victim, who goes by K. K. to protect her anonymity, brought the policy of the company to the light via a Change.org petition that has so far received 140,633 signatures — just shy of the 150K goal.

In the petition, which aims to change how TripAdvisor handles sexual assault, K. K. claims that she was raped by a tour guide that she had found on TripAdvisor, while on an international trip. According to K. K., the man had “stellar reviews” on the site, and asks her to choose him.

After the alleged assault, the K. K. said that she contacted the police, took a lawyer and went through an “invasive medical examinations,” and contacted TripAdvisor to remove the man page.

“ONE IN THREE TRIPADVISOR REVIEWS ARE FAKE, WITH LOCATIONS TO BUY RAVE REVIEWS, THE RESEARCH FINDS

“My attack was deeply traumatic and probably one of the worst things I have ever experienced. But the humiliation I had when I was on TripAdvisor for help was almost worse. When I asked for help warning other tourists about my attacker, the company suggested that I leave a review,” K. K. writes in the petition. According to an interview with The Guardian, K. K. said TripAdvisor sent her five links of other reviews detailing sexual assault committed in different hotels all over the world to show her how it is her own. A TripAdvisor spokesman confirmed to Fox News that the company asked her to leave a review, and offered to show her how to make an anonymous account.

I’m just one of the countless women who have ignored or treated badly by TripAdvisor after notification of a case of sexual abuse by a company on their site.”

— K. K.

TripAdvisor is active as the largest travel site in the world, with 456 million people visit every month reviews and search for travel recommendations. Their comment on K. K. asked her to speak about their policies, which she says is not “protect[ing] its users.”

“I’m just one of the countless women who have ignored or treated badly by TripAdvisor after notification of a case of sexual abuse by a company on their site. In the era of #MeToo, this company is not taking violence against women seriously,” she writes.

Since putting up the petition, K. K. wrote that they together with The Guardian examining more than 40 allegations of sexual assault against the companies TripAdvisor had listed on the site.

“I was not only sexual assault survivors all over the world are ignored by TripAdvisor,” K. K. wrote.

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In an interview with Fox News, TripAdvisor laid its policy was not to remove the companies from their site — even if the employees are being investigated for serious violent crimes.

“We are often asked why we do not remove a business listing when something terrible happens. With a business listing on our platform is not intended as an endorsement of that business. What makes TripAdvisor different from other platforms is that it is a disservice to the public to remove these offers, and therefore reject valuable information. Allowing a company to work in the shade, without that you have a clear overview of the travelers’ experiences at that location, potentially puts travelers at risk,” a TripAdvisor spokesperson said in a statement.

The travel site claims to be leaving the business pages of those who are accused of abuse are’ helpful in warning the public, so that people can make an informed decision, but K. K. alleges in her petition that, even if they left a review, it would “easily get lost between the small complaints about the guide.”

K. K. also claimed that, in addition to forcing her to “relive the painful details” of the attack, posting on the public may endanger her by putting her “in a place where my opponent would be likely to find me.”

“Even a short, non-descriptive mention that a traveler experienced an attack, can serve as a powerful warning for the global travel community.”

— TripAdvisor spokesman

TripAdvisor usually lists reviews chronologically and positions accommodations on the basis of their star rating.

Trip Advisor has fielded complaints over how it handles sexual violence. In 2017, the company said it would start adding warning labels for hotels that were reported to have “health, discrimination and safety issues,” though the company does not specifically label what violations of the hotel was accused and the warning tags only usually only stay for a period of three months, The Guardian reported.

TripAdvisor told Fox News the amount of time a warning remains on a company is determined on a case-by-case basis.”

Regardless of the warning tag, however, the business’ stars does not seem to be affected. According to The Guardian, a resort in Jamaica still 4.5 stars, even after an employee was accused by a female guest of raping her. She left a comment on the site, but it was buried under more than 5,000 reviews.

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TripAdvisor said in the statement to Fox News that is not “promoting businesses” that are on the site.

“It is a terrible tragedy when someone experiences a health problem as a sexual or physical assault. TripAdvisor is an informative review platform for travelers to post their experiences, including cases of assault,” the statement read.

“TripAdvisor is of the opinion that any person affected by a traveler safety in the lawsuit, including sexual abuse, has the right to write first-hand about their experience. Even a short, non-descriptive mention that a traveler experienced an attack, can serve as a powerful warning for the global travel community.”

TripAdvisor went on to say that the creation of movements to better serve the community and to work “to find the right balance between honoring a victim’s privacy and ensure that our platform is useful for travelers.”

“TripAdvisor continues to repeat on new and better ways to get important health and safety information more visible and available to protect the travelers. The health and safety of travelers is a responsibility that we take very seriously. We believe that the empowerment of the global travel community with as much information as possible to inform their decisions is an important role that we play as a business in safety.”

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