In its latest publicity salvo the White Moose Cafe in Dublin has drawn the ire of coeliacs after posting on its social media page that it would only serve gluten-free food to those suffering from the auto-immune disease if they could provide a doctor's note.
The cafe, located at Charleville Lodge Hotel near Phibsborough, has attracted plenty of controversy since opening last year, including posts banning vegans from entering the cafe, releasing CCTV images of a customer in response to a negative review, threatening to put valium in a screaming babies' fruit juice, and gaining the attention of BBC Brazil for mocking a Brazilian job applicant.
"From now on, guests who demand gluten-free food are required to produce a doctor’s note which states that you suffer from coeliac disease. Guests following a gluten-free fad, who don’t even know what gluten is, can cop on and eat regular food like everybody else," reads the latest social media post.
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The post, which has already been shared nearly 5,000 times, was described by Stenson as "all just a bit of fun", reports The Irish Times. When asked if it was just a publicity stunt, he said it's about getting as many eyes on the cafe as possible and that "Facebook is advertising for free".
In a subsequent post, he added: "Let me assure you that it was not a joke and I am deadly serious. So, whether you're a genuine coeliac or you simply suffer from the psychological disorder known as gluten intolerance AKA lets-make-it-up-as-we-go-along syndrome, please remember that I'd never joke on this page."
Replying to a post about this being a "PR nightmare" for the cafe, Stenson said: "The post has been liked 5,336 times, featured in 5 news articles [and] all in the space of 3 hours. Yes, a total PR nightmare."