SAN FRANCISCO: Yelp is removing a barrage of "media-fueled" negative reviews of River Bluff Dental, the business owned by Cecil the Lion’s killer, Walter Palmer.
A Yelp spokesperson told PRWeek via email that the site’s content guidelines stipulate that reviews are not 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.
"Yelp reviews are required to describe a firsthand consumer experience -- not what someone read in the news," the spokesperson said. "Our user support team ultimately removes reviews that violate these guidelines."
Yelp also has a support page set up that explains how the site handles reviews that look like they were posted in response to news stories.
"Although most instances like these do not reach the current level of scrutiny and media attention, Yelp has proven policies in place to deal with such events and will remove content that violates our terms of service," the spokesperson added.
At the time of publishing, Palmer’s dental practice has also received more than 1,500 unfavorable reviews on Google Reviews in relation to Cecil’s killing.
Palmer caused international outrage this week after it was reported that he paid roughly $50,000 to take part in a big game hunt in Zimbabwe that resulted in the death of Cecil the Lion, a big cat well known to tourists.
Animal rights groups expressed outrage at the incident, and #CecilTheLion was trending on Twitter on Wednesday morning.
Some PR pros on Twitter speculated on whether or not Yelp is handling the situation appropriately.
An unusual dilemma for Yelp - do they let the Internet respond or continue to delete unrelated reviews? https://t.co/IRqb1xgK7V— Binna Kim (@binnaskim) July 29, 2015