Influencer family trolled over lobster scandal at The Silver Pearl

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A family of influencers have revealed the brutal backlash, including years of online abuse and threats, they received after being caught up in a “nightmare” dispute over a Christmas Day lobster dinner.

Jennifer Do and her daughters, Belinda and Julie Nguyen, became subject to online hate after the trio, accompanied by Ms Do’s partner, attended The Silver Pearl eatery in Sydney’s Cabramatta on December 25, 2020.

The family had ordered two lobster dishes, including a $364 live lobster served sashimi-style and a bottle of red wine.

However, after the food arrived, Ms Do’s then-partner expressed dissatisfaction with the lobster, leading the group to pay only for the wine and leave without eating.

The saga has since escalated into an almost three-year legal battle, culminating in a defamation lawsuit filed by the three women in Federal Court, which settled out of court.

This weekend, Julie told the Daily Mail that neither she nor her sister had written any online review of their experience at Silver Pearl. However, hey later received a direct message from the restaurant on Instagram, accusing them of “dishonest and classless” behaviour.

“Even after you complained, you STILL CONTINUED to eat the sashimi that supposedly caused you to ‘Feel sick’,’ Silver Pearl said, according to the publication. “Not only did you continue to eat it you FINISHED IT.”

“We are demanding that you pay the outstanding bill of $364 or we will pursue this matter through the police and publicly name and shame your family with photos included for this terrible behaviour.”

The restaurant would later acknowledge the group did not eat the lobster.

Christmas lobster from Silver Pearl

The restaurant then took to social media to issue a “scammer alert”, where they accused the family of being “fraudulent diners” who fabricated food poisoning to evade payment, sparking a years-long legal battle.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Julie said the family received immediate backlash online, with random online trolls reportedly labelling the family b******, wh****, rats and scum amongst other insults.

“Can we please have permission to kill these animals? I hate people like this, with a strong passion,” one stranger wrote on Facebook.

One troll claimed they had tracked down the family’s home address, while another threatened sexual violence.

Screenshots shared by the publication, also show messages sent online that read “I know where you live” and “your mum is so ugly”.

Julie said the “traumatic” ordeal left the family feeling “helpless”.

“It’s been a living nightmare for us every day,” she shared.

“They said they would physically bash my mum if they saw us around the Cabramatta area. That they’ll physically harm us, spit on us.”

Julie also claimed her mother was stalked by a woman at her local Westfield.

“Mum said, ‘Hi, can I help you?’ The lady said, ‘I saw you on TV – you’re the lobster scammer’.”

“We have to be subjected every day to this question: why did you steal the lobster from this establishment?”

She added: “There were thoughts of suicide because of the extreme humiliation and hatred of being accused of being a lobster scammer.”

Belinda previously told KIISfm hosts Kyle and Jackie O in October that the backlash became so severe that the family had to involve law enforcement.

“There were just so many threats going on, and at the time I was really depressed,” she shared.

“Police had to intervene because of the ongoing threats. They wanted to release our home address as well.”

Following the saga, Belinda lost her job, while Julie was forced to install surveillance cameras in her home.

Jennifer’s relationship with her partner also eventually came to an end.

An apology ‘any admission of wrongdoing or liability’

The incident escalated into a legal battle, culminating in a lawsuit filed by the three women in Federal Court.

The restaurant issued a lengthy apology last week after the defamation case settled.

“Jennifer’s partner expressed dissatisfaction with the lobster, a complaint we respectfully disagree with, maintaining that our food consistently meets the highest quality standards, and we vehemently deny any suggestion that our seafood was and is not fresh,” the restaurant’s statement said.

“However, we do accept that on 28 December 2020 we published a post that was made about Jennifer, Julie and Belinda.

“We now acknowledge that none of them ate any of the lobster and it was only Jennifer’s partner who did. We acknowledge that they paid for the wine.

“We are aware the posts gained significant traction and caused Jennifer, Belinda and Julie hurt and embarrassment.

“It was never our intention for the matter to escalate to the extent it did, and we are empathetic to them for any harm our post may have caused.”

On Sunday morning, Silver Pearl reaffirmed its apology to saying it was mad without any admission of wrongdoing or liability.

“Following the dismissal of the case brought against Silver Pearl in Federal Court proceedings, Silver Pearl extended an apology to Jennifer Do and her daughters,” a Silver Pearl spokesperson said in a statement.

“This apology, disseminated through official social media channels, reflects Silver Pearl’s commitment to empathy and understanding, without any admission of wrongdoing or liability.”

The restaurant also said no damages were awarded to the family.

“Silver Pearl reaffirms its dedication to providing exceptional service to all patrons and fostering positive community relationships,” the statement read.

“The establishment remains steadfast in upholding its reputation for integrity and respect.”

In response, Julie said the family welcomed the apology, but the trolling still distressed the group.

“We’ve been through the wringer … We all struggle with our mental health,” she told the Daily Mail on Sunday.

“We still get harassed and cursed by people who thought we were lobster scammers or fraudulent diners.

“We will never have the same confidence going out in public. We live in fear because the threats still haunt us.”