Man Banned From A Hilton For…

Via The Telegraph:

A man has been banned from a hotel for life after replying to a question about pets by telling staff he had a ”large snake in his trousers”.

Jason Payne, 35, made the joke as he filled out an online form to book a night’s stay at the Hilton in Basingstoke, Hampshire.

But under a section asking if he had pets he wrote the only animal he has is a ‘large snake in my trousers’ adding ‘hope that’s okay’.

The IT technician spent the night there on February 8 2014, but later received an email advising him staff wouldn’t let him stay there again.

Mr Payne was told the language was “abusive” and “neither appropriate nor funny” and banned for life.

The email from the front office manager apparently read as follows:

”After your recent stay with us here at the Hilton Basingstoke Hotel, I am sending you this email in regards to comments found on the booking.

“As an employer, we are not willing to accept that our team members are ever put in an uncomfortable situation, due to the abusive language a guest uses talking to them, writing to them or even on the booking form they fill in online.

“As you will understand, the booking comment made on your booking: ‘There’s a large trouser snake in my trousers. Hope that’s OK’ is neither appropriate when making a hotel booking, nor is it funny.

“At reception, the team members are required to confirm any requests or comments the guests have made in their bookings, which means any comment you make will most definitely get read (out), and I cannot interpret putting a comment like this onto a booking in any other way than trying to embarrass the person who will read it.

“As a hotel, like any other employer, we do not accept this kind of harassment of our team members and I would therefore like to let you know that we will not be able to accept any future bookings from yourself. ”

“Yours sincerely, Cathrin Wurst, front office manager.”

So clearly the guy is 35 going on 14. Beyond that, I’m not sure why he’d want to make this public, because surely you wouldn’t want your name associated with that joke for the rest of your life. At the same time, do you think a joke you’d expect from a 14 year old boy is a reason to be banned from a hotel?

Curious what you guys think!

Filed Under: Hilton
  1. Yep, 14 yr old style joke, and nope shouldn’t get you banned. Also, nope on the question of whether I’d want the joke associated with my name for the rest of my life.
    Clearly, it was a stupid joke, and should in no way have been read out when the guy was checking in (which it sounds like it wasn’t, but the email from the hotel implied that wolfed normally happen). I think the guy figured it was the kind of thing that you write on an online form and goes into the black hole of the Internet.
    That said, if I was working at the hotel and read the comment on my screen as I was checking the guy in, it would be pretty gross and creepy. He probably did deserve an admonishment and to be made to feel like kind of an idiot for writing it. Banned for life is a little extreme. Although, it is just from that one property and not the entire Hilton chain. So, not really a big deal.

  2. How can reading a schoolyard taunt in an online form be considered harassment? A lame joke, sure, but if Hilton’s employees can’t handle seeing words that have a sexual connotation, I don’t know how they’ll not collapse sobbing when someone makes a nasty, raunchy comment. What if a pop-up appears on their computers or a spam message promising genital enhancement?

    Roll your eyes at the form, make a note about the guest if his or her behavior escalates, and get on with your life!

  3. That’s absurd. Particularly since his comment was delivered in email form, so I don’t see any credence to a claim that his comment was harassing or intimidating.

    Also, Ms. Wurst, to your comment that “I cannot interpret putting a comment like this onto a booking in any other way than trying to embarrass the person who will read it.”

    Do you understand men at all? He’s not trying to embarrass the person reading it, HE’S TRYING TO MAKE A JOKE! He’s immature and pretty dumb, but he’s trying to be funny for God’s sake.

  4. I guess I’ll diverge from the previous two posters. I am all for humor, and enjoy dirty jokes myself, but there is a time and a place for everything…and this was not it.

    I used to be a manager at a grocery store. I used to have some young, cute girls that worked with me that were trying to pay their way through school and make an honest living. I would often have guys come in and harass these girls. I used to automatically kick these guys out of the store. The small wages they were paid were not enough to have to put up with harassment.

    While the comment here was not directed at any one person, I can relate to where the manager was coming from. I think he acted appropriately by telling this customer that his needs might be better fulfilled…elsewhere.

  5. funny they took his money first and then banned him. either way still quite immature of him to have such comments

  6. I think the reaction by this hotel is silly to say the least. All kinds of shenanigans happen in hotels and if the hotel staff can’t take a joke than they are not suitable for working in a hotel.

  7. Don’t forget that the hotel can be liable if an employee sues because they are being harassed or working in a “hostile environment.” As silly as the joke was, I doubt the hotel really had a choice, in order to protect itself.

    Not saying I agree with our litigious society, but there you have it.

  8. i think to understand the hotel’s reaction one must read between the lines. perhaps Cathrin’s husband is Japanese…

  9. Debatable whether the joke was funny. It was certainly inappropriate and in poor taste, and I have no problem if the hotel wants to have some strict standards for guest conduct.

    I’m annoyed with the need to though out ‘harassing’ and and ‘abusive’ though. I feel like these words are getting used more and more in a ‘recipient decides how much harm the speaker intended’ way that is a little too pc for my taste. IMHO the hotel should have just left things at ‘you acted in poor taste and are no longer welcome.’

  10. Stupid, not funny joke. Immature. Shouldn’t have done it.

    Overreaction by hotel manager. She might have met with him during his stay and advised him that she found it to be inappropriate and expected it not to be repeated.

    Banned for life??

    How many of their hotel guests who disturbed other guests with loud noise, etc. have been banned for life without warning??

  11. I’m with the hotel manager on this. Number of times a customer is allowed to make joking references to his penis to my employees – zero. This joke is not adolescent bravado, it’s a 34 year old man imposing himself on an unwilling staff. Yes, I would have taken the money. Oh and for whatever record there may be, middle aged white guy here.

  12. Hilton must have some pretty high standards for jokes to ban him.

    Maybe that’s what their new award chart is?

  13. Love to see someone try that line with TSA !

    But really, he was talking to a machine, not someone in person , he used the formal “trousers” instead of “pants” and didn’t use any slang like di*k or co*k, as many many Americans would out loud in public.

    The American version of this would be “Su*k My Di*k, Bi*ch” which is repeated aloud in person millions of times per day. What this guy said is mild and a little quaintly cute.

    That Hilton owes an apology for being so tight-assed. Britain owes an apology for trying to kill humour.

    And what if he really had a pet snake?

  14. Dear Cathrin,

    Due to your comments and affiliation with what some consider to be a corporation with misogynistic and homophobic roots, I cannot righteously make any more bookings with you. Please stop harassing and embarrassing me.

    I will ban you if you don’t stop. Unlike you, I’m giving you a warning!

  15. Maybe Ms WURST has been the butt of too many jokes relating to male “parts” in her time. Can’t imagine why though!

  16. I don’t see anything wrong with a manager protecting their employees… the grocery manager protecting their employees above if you had a teenage daughter come home and tell you this story it would make you think twice about the clients where she worked……we have lost our civility in this internet age and it is nice to see someone clawing it back………

  17. Hilton sucks, smile as his dumb joke and go on with your day. Who cares.

    I have a snake in my pants also. Am I banned from your blog?

  18. Slight overreaction, perhaps, but as a manager, I wouldn’t want my front or housekeeping staff to have to read that, assuming it gets printed out (I’m sure housekeeping needs to know about pets that might be left in the room).

    And she didn’t inconvenience him by canceling his existing plans.

    As a customer, however, I’d certainly be highly appreciative that I wouldn’t have to listen to that moron playing with his pet during the wee hours in the room next to mine!

  19. Since he had a confirmed reservation, and the comment would only be read at check-in, I think they were required to honor the reservation.

    Forcing him to leave and search for other accommodation at the last moment would have been an even more severe punishment.

    Plus the decision of how to respond is not one that a low level employee would be allowed to make, and a manager might not have been available at that point.

    Probably a warning to not repeat the behavior would have been most appropriate. But considering that his online behavior might be an indication of possible offensive behavior to employees and other guests in person, I don’t think banning him from future stays, at that particular hotel only, is that far out of line.

    For those that are saying “they just don’t understand men”, I’m sorry, but there are time and place considerations involved here. A joke that might be appropriate among male friends in a bar is not necessarily appropriate on a booking form read by employees who are barred from responding in kind by hotel policy.

  20. Total overreaction by the hotel manager. Poor taste/immature and even mildly offensive. But it was a comment on a form, for goodness sakes. Not a public.statement made in a harassing manner to a female employee.

  21. perhaps the reservation form should have radio buttons and not free form text. in fact, this sites poll should be updated to “Do you have pets?”
    A. Dog
    B. Cat
    C. Bird
    D. Snake
    E. Other

    The amount of snake responses will tell you how funny your readership thought the joke to be

    Dumb on the Hilton for feeding a troll. Why write this letter instead of keeping quiet and cancelling any future bookings? This will inspire other attempts at lifetime bans.

  22. I don’t think he should’ve been banned for life from the hotel for this one incident, but I have no problems with what the hotel did. He’s a moron and deserves no sympathy.

  23. Hi guys, I’m the guy from the article and I wrote a comment here which you might find interesting as it addresses a lot of what you’re all saying…

    In particular, note that the receptionist found it hilarious at the time and read the comment out while laughing in hysterics. The Telegraph conveniently omitted that part, although it’s in the Basingstoke Gazette version of the story. Funny that. šŸ˜‰ x

  24. You can certainly tell the people who have ever had to manage people. Management have a duty of care to provide a non-hostile work environment for their employees so banning the idiot was entirely appropriate. ‘Its just an immature joke’ is no excuse, neither is it a question of anyone being actively offended by the comment. I’m sure hilton or the hotel operator have a good harassment policy and the manager has effectively complied with it.

    The person who was banned needs to grow up and learn how to treat other people with decency and respect. Anyone who thinks it was just a joke should maybe take a moment to examine their own behaviour.

    Don’t get me started on the casual racism tossed around in the comment sections of the recent posts about China Southern. I had thought better of the readers of this blog but the last few days have severely diminished my opinion.

  25. For what it’s worth – several months ago, I unwisely tried to catch a little shut-eye in a public area of the New York Hilton Midtown when I was not staying there. Security woke me up, took me into a back office, and told me they were going to get a “banning order” issued that would ban me from the hotel for life. My Citi HHonors Reserve card saved me from this ignominious fate….

  26. Clearly Ms. Wurst has never worked in a restaurant kitchen. A more correct response:
    “Dear Mr. Payne, It is strict hotel policy to not allow pets, including large snakes. However since I’m assuming your trouser snake is less than two inches long I doubt it will be of any real concern.”

  27. I support the manager for having the guts to tell the jerk to go elsewhere.Nobody should be subjected to sexual innuendos.Maybe he’ll think twice next time he starts to type…

  28. Third party harassment is a real thing. An employee may have made an issue of it. The manager has an obligation to take action otherwise she leaves the company open for a lawsuit. Sad but true in this litigious society.

  29. I applaud the hotel for trying to keep someone who leaves crude, written comments around away from its other customers. As underscored by many of the comments above, civility is in short supply these days. Maybe you’re ok with your wife, sisters or mom being forced to read that stuff. If so, ask yourself why. Life ain’t Porkys, guys, at least not for all of us.

    I wouldn’t be as harsh had this been a verbal joke to a same sex employee with whom banter was being exchanged. Putting it in writing for random viewing is a whole other matter.

  30. I personally think this comment was semi-amusing and should be taken with a grain of salt. Why is everyone so concerned about mild sexual innuendo? I doubt that many children or teens read this newsletter.

  31. Hilton is always silly and abusing customers. it overreact on a customer’s joke. Why hilton never reflected itself when it abused customers?

    Overall, I am quit hilton diamond status for a year. I really hated this hotel and would not stay there unless there are no other choice. At Auckland, NZ, no marriott. I probably have to stay in hilton this year for once.

  32. Hilton is always silly and abusing customers. It overreacted on a customerā€™s joke. Why hilton never reflected itself when it abused customers?

    Overall, I have quit hilton diamond status for a year. I really hated this hotel and would not stay there unless there are no other choice. At Auckland, NZ, no marriott or club carlson. I probably have to stay in hilton there this year for once.

  33. Hilton’s award chart is an offensive joke….not this clown.

    This guy’s response to a silly online form is mildly amusing. I’m sure his aim was to make some underpaid, downtrodden hotel worker smile with a moment of levity during an otherwise tough job.

    Did anyone at Hilton explain how modern Public Relations works? If you write a customer a silly letter (oh my! I’m banned….ohhh the horror!) regarding a silly joke, then you’re gonna get a bunch of negative PR that propogates the story for weeks. To the manager–if it was your aim to make this a public spectacle, you win! Furthermore, you’ve reinforced the stereotype of British stuffiness. A twofer!

    Now who in their right mind would want to book a night at this hotel in Basingstoke? They seem like such a fun bunch….

  34. What a hater! Kate should be put into sensitivity training as she violated the civil rights of this mentally challenged customer. I bet she even hates on all those poor pot smokers in the Denver Hilton Hotel rooms. Why, having no smoking rooms is a violation of their civil rights! Paging Eric Holder…

  35. I met a girl at a hotel bar and we went up to my room. Though fully consensual, we did some things that some might find objectionable. I know hotel staff observed us heading to the room together, they saw her hands on me (where a snake would be found) and they could tell we were going to have sex.

    I guess I should never return to the hotel again.

  36. Well if the staff are unable to handle a silly situation like that and feel they need to ban the guest for life, I would not want them to be in charge were a serious incident to occur at the hotel threatening my life while a guest there. I will choose to stay at a different hotel when in Basingstoke.

  37. I find it telling that most of the women (me included) support the manager’s decision (or at least her decision to do something) and most of the men find it unwarranted. As a woman working in a male dominated industry, I’ve heard plenty of lighthearted innuendo, but some guys just take it too far. His comment was creepy, immature, and could easily make a woman uneasy. Guys, this behavior doesn’t belong in anyone’s workplace. If we continue to laugh off this type of behavior, then there’s no incentive for things to improve.

  38. This guy’s opinion is that the same things that are not allowed in the US as basis for employment discrimination are a good guide for what is unacceptable as humor in a client/provider role. So, no sexist or racist humor is reasonable when interacting with airline, hotel or other service personnel. Good on the manager for dealing firmly with this issue.

    Really sorry representation of this blog’s readership based on most of the comments here; how would you feel having someone make such comments to your mom, sister, daughter, wife? I make no broad judgement on Mr Payne’s character based on one incident, but let’s say it’s not a good starting point for his Internet presence.

  39. Actually, now having read the FT thread and some of the ‘news’ articles Mr Payne encouraged the tabloids to write and his attempts to gain further notoreity on FT asking for questions and making blanket statements on sexual innuendo being totally fine in the workplace, I now feel I have a pretty good idea that this one incident pretty accurately reflects Mr Payne’s general character. As the Brits say, what a wanker.

  40. Don’t feel sorry for the person in question. Perhaps, this kind of humor is more acceptable in the UK but here in the US I don’t think anyone would willingly try to spread the word about the fact they were banned from a place of business due to inappropriate sexual innuendo.

  41. Hotels share ban lists, and they aren’t always nice about telling you are banned until you actually fly to the destination, catch a cab over, and show up. This happened to me at an aqua hotel in Hawaii.

    My “crime” was taking a video of a hotel employee’s lousy customer service upon check-in in Hawaii on a pre-paid booking. I didn’t curse her out or anything. I asked for a manager, who wasn’t there, so I decided to get out my camera.

    She was apparently embarrassed by her behavior, since she called the police and tried to get them to make me delete it. (The did not.) Ironically, the hotel had a fixed camera at the check-in counter, but I didn’t ask the police to make the hotel erase its memory. The hotel apparently wants to have it both ways.

    I immediately booked another room at a different hotel, only to find out that it was part of the same chain, despite no similarity in name. You don’t find out your banned until you actually show up in the lobby, which doesn’t seem fair.

    Now aqua has been bought by Marriott, and I wonder if I am banned there too.

    The credit reporting bureaus are regulated to keep a single error (perhaps by someone inside the credit card company) from getting you banned by all creditors. There need to be similar regulations for shared hotel blacklists. Otherwise any misbehaving hotel employee can credibly threaten to get a frequent business traveler forever banned from a large number of hotels, and it will mess up his trips because he won’t know until he arrives.

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