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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Yelp Death Match: Business Owner Allegedly Attacks Yelper In His San Francisco House

Posted By on Tue, Nov 3, 2009 at 6:02 PM

One star! One star!
  • One star! One star!

And you thought they were just harmless reviews. The bitter back-and-forth cyber-attacks between business owners and Yelpers turned real-world violent Sunday night when a bookstore owner allegedly forced her way into the house of a San Francisco man who'd given her a bad review and the two entered into a wrestling match.  

"This is the craziest thing that's ever happened to me," Sean C., as he's known on Yelp, told SF Weekly. "If I had a gun she'd probably be dead right now."

The fiasco started when Sean C. posted a two-star Yelp review for Ocean Avenue Books in the Ocean View neighborhood last week, warning: "This place is a TOTAL MESS."

"It wasn't anything really bad," Sean C. says. "But obviously it was

enough to push her over the edge." First came the alleged onslaught of

hilarious/disturbing e-mails to his account, such as "Goodbye pussy boy

and I will be contacting your employers." You can read the other messages on his Flickr page. No one answered at the

bookstore when the SF Weekly called Tuesday evening.

Sean says he reported her to Yelp, and the Web site canceled

the store owner's user profile. The store owner than wrote a rebuttal

to Sean's critique, calling him an "alcoholic." He says Yelp then pulled

her second account and took down the rebuttal.

According to Sean, the store owner decided to take the case into her own

hands. "It was about 6:10 on Sunday and I was getting ready to watch

the World Series and there's a knock at my door," Sean says. This

wasn't any belated trick-or-treater: a quick glance through the

peephole showed a blond woman. Sean assumed it was a neighbor, and

opened the door. The woman immediately forced her way into the house,

saying  "I have these movie tickets for you," and dropped a couple of

movie passes on the ground. Sean pushed her out, she pushed him back

in, and Sean pushed her out again.

"I was wrestling with her, I didn't know if she had a gun," Sean says.

"I don't want to say it was like a fight to the death but we were both

locked in the struggle. It left me out of breath."

Finally, the door mat on the stoop shifted under the woman's weight and

fell back down a couple steps leading to the door. It was enough for

Sean to slam and lock the door, and call 911.

When the cops arrived, they informed him the intruder was the owner of the

nearby bookstore, "and I'm like 'Oh my God.'" Sean C. had never bought

anything at the store, and has no idea how he was tracked down. The police cited her for battery and took her for a mental health intervention.  

Sean obtained a temporary restraining order against the woman on Monday, and his story is burning up on the blogosphere.

He says he won't stop writing reviews. "This isn't going to deter me

from speaking my mind, but I'm definitely going to start watching my


His latest review: A five-star rave of the restraining order ACCESS Center in the Tenderloin.  

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Lauren Smiley


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