A pubgoer has called out an online troll’s “gutless” response after a photo of him taking part in a 1kg steak challenge was shared online.
James Steer, 25, was targeted by a “pathetic keyboard warrior” after he decided to attempt a popular ‘meal challenge’ at Gerogery Hotel, in the rural NSW town of Gerogery, 20 minutes north of Albury, while out for dinner two weeks ago.
Mr Steer, who is a regular at the pub but has never attempted the challenge before, had under an hour to eat a meal consisting of 1kg of steak, 500g of chips and four servings of salad.
“I thought while I was there, I may as well give it a go … I thought I might get a bit of backlash being a bigger fella but the (online response) was a bit rough,” Mr Steer told news.com.au.
The 25-year-old made it most of the way through the challenge but felt too full to finish the entire meal.
When his photo was later shared by the pub on social media, a man named Robert took it upon himself to leave a vile 1-star review and slam the owners for serving a large meal to an “obese” customer.
“Why the hell would you serve someone this obese that much food? Absolutely disgusting,” the troll wrote in the Google review.
“Might as well put up a pic of an [alcoholic] drinking jugs. Be better.”
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While he considers himself to be thick-skinned, Mr Steer told news.com.au he was “annoyed” to read the “cowardly” response.
“I was brought up being told not to judge a book by its cover and I was p*ssed off he was judging me off one photo and he’s never met me. I just thought it was a bit of a cowardly thing to do.”
He also called out the troll’s decision to remain anonymous and only identify himself as “Robert”.
“It’s unfair that he’s judged a book by its cover but when you haven’t got a last name and you’re just going by Robert, it’s a bit gutless.”
“I thought about saying something but I thought the old mate would have gone and barked up and at the end of the day, I didn’t want to lower myself to his level.”
Instead, the Gerogery Hotel took the matter into their own hands.
After seeing the negative review, the pub called out Robert in a widely praised response on social media.
“This is a Google review from a Robert who is not welcome at the G-Rodge,” the pub wrote in a Facebook post, alongside a screenshot of the review.
“He seems to be a pathetic, judgmental keyboard warrior hiding behind a restricted profile. “We think Robert should take his own advice and be better.”
“We realise lots of Roberts are awesome. Robert Downey Jr, Robert De Niro, Robert Irwin. Tag a Robert who is a top bloke and isn’t an internet troll- who should visit the G-Rodge because they are welcome.”
The pub added they had reported the review to Google as it was “completely against” what they believe in.
“Gerogery Hotel NSW is an inclusive welcoming environment where you come for a great feed and a good time.”
The pub’s response was applauded by many online, including one person who compared Robert to a ‘Karen’.
“This is hilarious Go G- Rodge! Great country pub,” one person wrote.
“Thank you for making such an inclusive safe space for all!” said another.
“Poor Robert, he’s upset that he’s not man enough to take on a kilo of steak,” another comment read.
“Robert is Karen’s brother,” said another.
The review was later removed from Google.
Mr Steer said he was pleased to read the response from the pub and others who have contacted him and showed their support.
“It was good that not everyone felt that way,” he shared.
“I was mainly just concerned at the fact that the bloke gave the pub a one-star review.”
Gerogery Hotel publican Norm Carl told news.com.au he was “disgusted” when he read Robert’s review and rang Mr Steer to apologise.
“He’s just a really good down-to-earth guy, no one’s got the right to attack him.”
Mr Carl said the pub regularly shares photos of patrons who attempt the meal challenges on social media and they are “overwhelmingly” met with a positive response.
“It’s meant to be a bit of fun and a one-off [challenge] where people come in and try. For the most part everyone’s supportive of that.”
“And then you’ve got the detractors like Robert who just want their voice heard.”
Going forward, Mr Steer said the review hasn’t deterred him from going to the pub but said he won’t be rushing to put his hand up for another meal challenge anytime soon.
“I think I’ll give it some time for the dust to settle.”