CLEVELAND--Barley House is battling back against two social media personalities who slammed the restaurant's security guards for being "too aggressive."
“My entire business was sabotaged -- 100, 300, 400, one-star reviews on Yelp,” said Corey May, partner and manager of Barley House in downtown Cleveland.
May is now trying to build back the Cleveland restaurant’s reputation after a Thanksgiving weekend incident involving two customers with millions of social media fans leaving bad reviews.
Ricky Banks and girlfriend, Alissa Violet, live in Los Angeles, but were in town visiting Violet’s family for Thanksgiving. Both Banks and Violet are active on YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat and have a few million followers.
“We simply asked Ricky to leave a restricted area. He insisted on creating a situation that didn’t need to be a situation,” May said.
Banks and Violet don’t see the situation the same way. A scuffle with bar security and two fights with other customers outside the bar left Banks with a broken hand and Violet with a black eye and fat lip.
But late Wednesday afternoon, Banks posted a video on YouTube explaining their side of the story and telling his fans he doesn’t support their threats to the restaurant.
“I do want to apologize to the members at Barley, the staff at Barley, cause the truth is 99% of them actually had nothing to do with this,” Banks said. “I know they’ve been getting all kinds of threats and some of you guys have been harassing them. Cut that out; it’s not cool. I don’t condone that and I do honestly from the bottom of my heart, as mad as I am, want to apologize,” Banks said.
Security footage from inside Barley House shows Banks waiting outside a bathroom on the lower floor for his girlfriend. May told FOX 8, the area is typically restricted to all customers except women and it was after 2 a.m. so the bar was closing and that area was off-limits.
Video shows the security guard and Banks getting into a scuffle and another bouncer walking him out the door.
Once outside the bar, both Banks and Violet start filming and another couple at the bar is angry. A fight breaks out; Violet is punched, and Banks punches the other man in the back of the head.
May says the couple’s posts on social media enraged their millions of fans and the restaurant immediately started to get threats and hundreds of untrue negative reviews on Yelp, Google and TripAdvisor.
“They didn’t even give us the chance to say, 'hey, let me look into this; let me rectify it if they did do something wrong,'" May explained. He also said the restaurant got more than 450 angry voice mails and hundreds of reviews from people located in California, New York and other states.
“They already took it upon themselves for their own social media benefit and ploy to make them have a story for what they do on YouTube and Instagram and that’s wrong; that’s when it turned into cyberbullying,” May said.
Barley House on Wednesday evening released what it says is the full video, which you can watch, below:
Meanwhile, Banks posted his own video on YouTube, which you can watch, below, detailing his experiences and apologizing for the threats and harassment to Barley House.