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May 25, 2018

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Trump hotels slammed with fake ‘s—thole’ ratings on Yelp

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Tom Donoghue / DonoghuePhotography.com

The Fourth of July from atop Allure Las Vegas on Friday, July 4, 2014, in Las Vegas. Trump International Tower is pictured here.

People angered by President Donald Trump's reported remark that African nations and others are "shithole countries" have taken aim at his hotels and resorts on Yelp.

The consumer-written Yelp page for the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., was swamped with so many fake, one-star reviews calling it a "shithole" that it's rating dropped from its usual four- or five-star rating, according to the Washingtonian.

On Monday, it had a two-star rating.

"Perhaps the Trump brand could take some lessons from Norway, where they have the BEST hotels. Like, genius, hotels. Not shitholes like this," read one fake Yelp review.

The Washingtonian found similarly scathing reviews on the Yelp pages of other Trump properties in New York, Las Vegas and Chicago.

"I don't know why anyone would want to stay in a shithole hotel, when they could go on a Norwegian Cruise or something," was posted on the pages for Trump hotels in Chicago and Las Vegas.

Trump has denied using the word "shithole." On Sunday he told reporters that he is "not a racist."

On Saturday night, protesters projected the word "shithole" on the facade of the D.C. hotel.

"Not a DC resident? Need a place to stay? Try our shithole," the message read, accompanied by grinning poop emojis.

Washington-based multimedia artist and activist Robin Bell took credit for the stunt, telling CNN the projection was up for about 40 minutes.

Though the fake "shithole" reviews on Yelp took a toll on the Washington hotel's ratings, the Washingtonian said they are unlikely to cause permanent harm because Yelp monitors pages of businesses that pop up in the news.

Pages for Trump hotels currently have this notice posted: "This business is being monitored by Yelp's Support team for content related to media reports."

On Monday, a few Trump properties hit by fake reviews had low Yelp ratings, though it's unclear if those ratings were caused by the faux reviews.

Mar-A-Lago had a one-star rating and Trump International Hotel and Tower in New York had a two-star rating, while Trump International in Las Vegas -- which one fake review called "a really gaudy shithole" -- maintained a rating of three-and-a-half out of five stars.

The phony reviews are unlikely to last long.

"Businesses under a high level of scrutiny and media attention will often receive an active cleanup alert to let users know about our policy to remove reviews that violate our terms of service, including ones that aren't about a firsthand experience with the business," Yelp spokeswoman Brenae Leary told the Washingtonian.

"These media storms are complicated situations that create a dilemma for Yelp, but we've chosen to take a strong and consistent stance on managing them.

"Because we sometimes receive hundreds and even thousands of photos and reviews in response to media attention, the removal process usually begins in the days after the issue is brought to our attention."