The husband-and-wife team behind popular pizzerias Emily and Emmy Squared, Matt and Emily Hyland, called for a boycott of a local hotel that is working with a blogger who they say dined and dashed at Emily.
The Hylands posted a screed on Instagram on Wednesday calling for the boycott of The Williamsburg Hotel, angry that the business was collaborating with the blog The Gone Cat and its writer on a pop-up at the hotel with drinks and DJs.
The couple has had a tiff with the blogger that stretches back to 2014, when they accused her of having dinner at Emily and then walking out on the bill. Earlier this week, the blogger Haya, whose last name has been removed from this piece for legal reasons, started leaving nasty comments on Emmy Squared Instagram posts in retaliation like “God she is fucking ugly and so are you @matthewshyland,” “Damn what an ugly couple,” and “How many investors did you scam you ugly bitch?,” referring to a lawsuit against the couple from June that has not been resolved.
In the past 24 hours, the hotel has canceled its event with Haya. But the Hylands have not recalled the boycott and the comments remain on the Instagram post. “Sometimes we just can't stay quiet,” Emmy Squared’s Instagram caption says. “Don't let these sexist pigs at the @wburghotel who are proudly sponsoring Gone Cat get away with this!”
Update: The Hylands issued a statement: “"It's unfortunate that someone would chose to throw such vitriol into a public forum for an unknown reason. We're just here to make great food and feed our customers with love!” They have since taken down their Instagram post, which can be seen below.
Haya says the root of her anger is that she never dined and dashed at the couple’s restaurant. In February 2014, Haya says she ate at Emily alone and spent about $50. She says that since she’d just returned from a trip to London, her credit card didn’t work because her bank had marked her attempted dinner purchase as unusual activity. She says that she then left her passport and card with the restaurant and told staff that she’d return after midnight, which is when the bank had promised to restore service.
After midnight, Haya adds that she called to say they could run the card and that she would return, but was told that the owners had called the cops on her and the police were at the restaurant. She says that she then went back to the restaurant, and since her card was still frozen, her friend eventually joined her to pay the bill in cash while the the police watched. It was a “shocking” incident, she says. “It was so freaking ridiculous. If I was dining and dashing, why would I come back? Why did they call the police?”
The rekindled fight stretches back to at least August 31, when Haya posted on Matthew Hyland’s personal Instagram account. It’s here that Hyland explains the business’ point of view, writing that she “demanded a free meal” because she “is an ‘important’ writer lol!!!”
Haya admits that although she mentioned her blog and that restaurants occasionally comp her, she did not ask for the Hylands to comp her meal. Williamsburg Hotel also did not immediately respond to request for comment, but Haya says her event was suddenly canceled “due to complaints they’ve received.”
As for why she started commenting on the Hylands’ Instagram more than three years after the incident, she says she’s not sure. She happened upon their Instagram feed and was reminded of the experience, which prompted her to find news of the Hylands’ Emmy Squared lawsuit. It reignited the anger, she says.
“It’s stupid huh?” Haya says. “I should have let it go. But they really, really angered and hurt me ... I felt like I had to comment something. I shouldn’t have. I should have let karma unfold.”