Influencer controversies are no joke. Even a single untoward incident in a social media celebrity’s carefully aestheticised world can risk jeopardising their status among fan communities. Whether it is problematic statements or bizarre actions, everything online celebrities say or do unfolds before a global audience. Each post is scrutinised.
That’s one reason for the rest of us to embrace our obscure identities on the internet!
We can embarrassingly trip and continue walking as if nothing happened and no one saw. Influencers, not so much. With social media cultures gaining dominance, there is even higher interest in the industry and the celebrities who are at its forefront. Here are some influencer controversies that got netizens talking this year.
These Influencer Controversies Left The Internet Puzzled & Angry:
1. Jayne Rivera’s Funeral Photos
20-year-old Jayne Rivera from Miami, Florida believed it was a good idea to pay her last respects to her father by posing with the casket at his funeral. Shared earlier this week on her now-deleted Instagram, the photos drew immense backlash after going viral on social media. Netizens said it was “tone-deaf” and “narcissistic” of Rivera to strike various poses before an open coffin. In a statement issued amid the trolling, Rivera defended her actions saying her father would have “approved” of it and that everyone processed grief in different ways. Read here.
2. Chinese Influencer’s Chernobyl Visit
Concerns abounded on the internet earlier this week after a Chinese blogger reportedly hiked at the site of the nuclear accident in Chernobyl, Ukraine in regular clothes without protective gear. Global Times reports the influencer’s visit sparked discussion on microblogging website Sina Weibo. The disaster in 1986 had released several radioactive elements into the atmosphere which still persist. As per the International Atomic Energy Agency, “they are at tolerable exposure levels for limited periods of time” and people can visit the site.
3. Susan Khan’s Party Prop Lion
Susan Khan, an influencer from Pakistan, drew immense ire from netizens in June this year after visuals from her birthday party went viral. Reason? She reportedly displayed a sedated, chained lion at her do as a ‘prop.’ Project Save Animals, an animal rights organisation, took the lead in calling Khan out. Attendees, however, told PSA that the lion was not abused. Reports suggest renting wild animals is common practice in many parts of Pakistan since there is no blanket ban on it. More here.
4. Jess Hunt’s Eiffel Tower ‘Photoshop’
British model Jess Hunt shared photos of herself in a black dress earlier this week, with Paris’ glittering Eiffel Tower in the backdrop. “One of my fave cities ✨✨✨” she wrote. Not long after she made her post, Instagram users claimed to notice that something wasn’t quite adding up. There was a strange white outline around her body and inconsistencies near the foot of the Eiffel Tower where traffic was passing, they said. Her photos were most likely photoshop, commenters alleged. However, some supporting Hunt said that it didn’t seem like the influencer made any attempt to hide the supposed editing in those photos.
5. Nimisha Verma’s Remark On Privilege
Instagram influencer Nimisha Verma, who is a metaphysical anatomy practitioner, drew flak in April this year for suggesting that being underprivileged was just a social construct. “You have been programmed to believe that sources are limited and the people who have less of it are underprivileged and the people who have more of it are evil people. You are just feeling miserable about yourself,” she said. Social media did not take kindly to her remarks and called her out on her own “privilege.” Read an opinion on influencer culture.