Lifestyle

This Documentary Claims Yelp Extorts Small Restaurant Owners

Published On 03/19/2015 Published On 03/19/2015

Yelp has long stood accused of hosting some of the most illiterate rage monsters on the web, but restaurant owners have also charged the review site with shady business practices in the past. A new Kickstarter project is looking to explore that second allegation through a full-length documentary called Billion Dollar Bully.

The movie will feature interviews with casual Yelp users, veteran lawyers, and restaurant owners who believe Yelp blackmailed them into paying money for good reviews. The preview posted on the Kickstarter page has some pretty damning stuff, including serious comparisons of the Yelp brass to the Mafia. Only half of the documentary is complete, though, so Prost Productions has taken to the crowdfunding site for an extra $60,000. They're seeking the money for things like color correction, legal fees, and actual videography, and while it seems like a steep sum, they've already raised $10k since the launch on Monday. The odds of this movie getting made are looking high, so the filmmakers better steel themselves against Yelp's secret squad of hitmen -- or, more likely, lawyers.

Kristin Hunt is a Food/Drink staff writer for Thrillist, and appreciates the pun title. Follow her at @kristin_hunt.

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