TripAdvisor has suspended reviews for the takeaway pizza restaurant that Prince Andrew discussed during his train-wreck interview about his relationship with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
Reviews of the Pizza Express outlet in Woking made after last weekend’s BBC interview with the Duke of York appear to have been deleted. The most recent review remaining is from a week ago.
The move came after TripAdvisor was flooded with what it called “spoof review submissions” for the pizza outlet south-west of London.
A message at the top of the page reads: “Due to a recent event that has attracted media attention and has caused an influx of review submissions that do not describe a first-hand experience, we have temporarily suspended publishing new reviews for this listing.
“If you’ve had a firsthand experience at this property, please check back soon – we’re looking forward to receiving your review!”
A TripAdvisor spokeswoman said: “The recent media attention caused a spike of spoof review submissions that did not meet our guidelines (our guidelines state that a review must describe a first-hand experience) and we have taken the decision to temporarily suspend hosting new reviews on the restaurant’s TripAdvisor listing page.”
The Duke of York has been heavily criticised for his performance on the BBC’s Newsnight program last weekend, in which he failed to convey any sympathy for Epstein’s victims.
Early on Thursday morning (Australian time), the Prince announced he would step away from royal duties “for the foreseeable future” amid the growing scrutiny over his friendship with Epstein.
In a statement, he confirmed the decision, in the face of what he described as “a major disruption” to the royal family and his charity work.
— Katie (@katiekaterina) November 17, 2019
In his BBC interview Andrew also denied sleeping with Virginia Giuffre, one of Epstein’s victims, on three separate occasions, twice while she was underage.
He said one encounter in 2001 could not have happened as he spent the day with his daughter Princess Beatrice, taking her to the Pizza Express.
“I was with the children and I’d taken [daughter Princess] Beatrice to a Pizza Express in Woking for a party at, I suppose, sort of 4pm or 5pm in the afternoon,” he said.
When asked why he would remember a meal at Pizza Express 18 years later, he said: “Because going to Pizza Express in Woking is an unusual thing for me to do, a very unusual thing for me to do.”
Within minutes of his explanation, TripAdvisor and Google were flooded with fake reviews of the Woking restaurant as viewers satirised the duke’s comments.
One reviewer wrote: “Love this place. I had a cracking pizza here in 2001. I remember it was 2001 because it was very strange the guy next to me had an American Hot pizza with extra chillies… not a drop of sweat came off him. Very odd.”
The sweating reference was a nod to Andrew saying in his BBC interview that a claim he was perspiring heavily at a London nightclub was wrong as he had a medical condition at the time which meant he did not sweat.
Google has not announced any similar move for the Pizza Express. However, all of the reviews on its site for the Woking outlet are at least a fortnight old – suggesting it might also have deleted more recent submissions.
Facebook also carries reviews for the restaurant: