Here’s a strange tale. A young travel blogger, Steve Wade from Edinburgh, visits Thailand as part of an East Asia tour. While in Bangkok he takes part in some of the city’s legendarily seedy after-hours activities, gets drunk and has sex with prostitutes.
Not much unusual there – thousands of Western men do the same thing, despite the risks of AIDs and the common use of children in the sex trade (a UN report found that as many as 300,000 minors, many of them trafficked into slavery, are working in the trade at any one time).
But as Hannoi blogger Steve “Our Man” Jackson spotted, this guy uses Travelpod site (“the web’s original travel blog”) to write about his conquests – and – how amusing he finds it that he managed to dupe hookers into giving him sex for free. We join him on a night out:
Got in about some thai women in this club but they were those rare, decent ones who don’t drop their knickers at the first sign of a 100 baht note so it was a no go. Ended up in a whore club called Spicy, we decided we’d try and pull a whore without paying for it….
…It was too fucking easy. Had these two chatting to us, pretending not to be whores, they love to pretend they work in hotels and offices so we just played a long, on a total wind up [...] Prossies who haven’t even mastered the art of getting paid for sex, you gotta laugh.
I’m not one for censorship. I don’t really care what Steve Wade gets up to, though his attitude to women is reprehensible. I am however amazed he posts this using a public profile, with a picture, that his mum, employer and the whole world can see.
For my money, this isn’t the kind of thing that potential Travelpod users – and advertisers – would expect to see. As I pointed out earlier, the page in question has ads from Finnair, Sta Travel and Saga travel. Would they endorse these comments about how easy the women are in Thailand, which is a massive, crucial market for all of them?
Answering my request for comment via Twitter, the company says: “I did not notice that post before, thank you for bringing it to our attention. It’s under review, ATM.”
So what should Travelpod do? Is there a PR route out of this? Should this have been flagged up earlier, or am I making too big a deal out of it? Thoughts are welcome via postcard, or more conveniently, in the comments below. I’ll update if I hear any more on this.