The Lowdown: selfie etiquette

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

The Lowdown: selfie etiquette

Related tags: Restaurant, Social media

Emma Thompson has reportedly stepped in to try to save the job of a waiter who was suspended after asking the actress for a selfie as she dined at Brown's Hotel in Mayfair.

Sounds like that waiter could do with a little more sense and sensibility…
Well, quite… although, no matter how misjudged, this hardly feels like a sackable offence.

What happened then?
The Sunday Times ​reports that a senior waiter at Brown’s was so overwhelmed when he saw Emma Thompson dining there with a group of celebrity friends, he went over and asked for a photograph. Thompson politely declined, explaining that she did not want to impose on her guests, and the dejected waiter went back to work. The next day, however, he was suspended until further notice for apparently breaking the hotel's strict protocol to respect the privacy of guests.

How did Thompson respond?
She was horrified, of course, and immediately rang up the general manager in an effort to urge the restaurant to reverse its decision. However, it is not yet known if the waiter has been reinstated, with Brown's saying: “Caring a great deal for the privacy and well being of both team members and guests, we are unable to make further comment on this matter.”

Could the waiter really be sacked for this?
A decision either way will be determined by the hotel’s internal policies. But given that Brown’s is an exclusive, high-class venue, it isn’t hard to see why such behaviour would be considered grounds for disciplinary action, although dismissal does seem a bit harsh if this is a first time offence. What’s interesting, though, is that this story has ignited a debate about whether or not celebrities should pose for selfies with the public when they're going about their private lives.

What’s the consensus?
Mixed. TV personality Robert Rinder posted on Twitter: “Smiling for selfies is a duty. It’s part of the deal for the privileges and perks that celebrity brings. Asking nicely matters of course but by doing very little, you get to improve the chemistry of somebody’s day. Celebrities who grumble about it might consider getting a real job.” It was a sentiment echoed by others including Piers Morgan, but one that contrasts with what Thompson herself said in 2014, in which she stated that she wouldn't dream of taking a selfie with anyone, describing it as taking narcissism to its unspeakable extremes.

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