More Info From Yelper Who Says He Was Threatened Over Negative Review

One of the messages allegedly sent via Facebook from the chef to a customer who left a one-star review on Yelp.

One of the messages allegedly sent via Facebook from the chef to a customer who left a one-star review on Yelp.

Earlier today, we told you about the apparent dispute between a Cleveland consumer and the chef/owner of a local restaurant who allegedly reacted to the customer’s negative Yelp review with a series of nasty, threatening messages on Facebook. Now that diner has reached out to Consumerist to share more of his side of the story.

First off, Ruchu, the customer who posted the one-star review said he wanted to clear up some rumors that others may have read about this situation.

He tells Consumerist that he doesn’t have any affiliation with any businesses that compete with the restaurant or its owner.

Additionally, though both the customer and the chef attended the same college, they did not know each other.

“He was years ahead and I only came to find out that he was an alum after this ordeal,” writes Ruchu. “Before this, I wouldn’t even recognize him.”

He believes there has also been some confusion about the platform for the messages that he’s screengrabbed and posted online. Some have apparently believed that these are text messages because of the narrow layout, but as anyone who has used Facebook Messenger can tell you, this is how Facebook messages appear on an iPhone.

“We did not contact each other over phone or text,” clarifies Ruchu, “only through Facebook and a few e-mails.”

Ruchu and his friends dined at the restaurant on a Sunday evening. The original Yelp review was posted the next afternoon.

That’s when things started to get strange.

Ruchu says that the chef found him on Facebook, copying a mutual friend on the original message, though neither Ruchu nor that friend know why this person was brought into the dispute. Then, according to Ruchu, the chef began “liking” every one of Ruchu’s public posts; he even apparently friend-requested the very person he was simultaneously sending these unpleasant messages to.

What wasn’t included in the earlier story — because we’re just seeing it now — are the messages and e-mails that were sent after that initial batch we told you about.

Ruchu later responded to the chef, suggesting that an apology was called for.

“Not only did you take my opinions on your business too personally, you attacked my girlfriend and friend,” he wrote, pointing to the racially charged comments and threats in the earlier messages. “You showed that you are [incapable] of receiving criticism.”

Surprisingly, given the vitriol on display in the initial messages, the chef’s response to this request was not filled with the same unhinged anger.

“I do apologize for my harsh words, particularly getting personal,” writes the chef, who does say he interpreted the review as an attempt to sabotage his business.

While Ruchu was skeptical of the apology, he says the chef ultimately did provide a video message to demonstrate his sincerity. (We have not seen this video and Ruchu says he is not showing it to anyone.)

Ruchu updated his Yelp review to mention both the Facebook messages and the apology, but apparently the owner was not thrilled with this update.

According to e-mails shown by Ruchu to Consumerist, the chef asked Ruchu to remove this update but leave the original 1-star review.

“I’m fine with the bad reviews that we have and don’t wish to edit any of them,” reads one e-mail about the possibility of removing the update.

But Ruchu says that the restaurant then began using his full name as a hashtag on its Instagram photos, which he believed was an attempt to publicly mock him.

So after a few weeks of this, that’s how the boycott page on Facebook, which has screengrabbed some of these mentions for posterity, came to be.

We’re still hoping to hear back from the restaurant, and will update this story if we get any additional info.

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