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.
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."