Right now, a lot of celebrities are using their platforms to speak out about systemic racism, offer resources for how white people can continue to learn and help, and highlight peaceful protests. And many influencers are opening dialogues about race, highlighting Black-owned businesses to support, and sharing information about government officials to contact to demand change. But as with just about anything, other influencers and wannabe influencers alike are co-opting these powerful protests against police brutality and using them for likes. And this is why we can’t have nice things. Here are a few stories of clout-chasing gone wrong.
— Jake Paul (@jakepaul) May 31, 2020
Everyone’s least favorite YouTuber and the word “jackass” personified, Jake Paul, was captured on video at a mall in Scottsdale as it was being looted last weekend. While videos didn’t show the walking Twitter apology himself participating in the looting, he was in the crowd (and on camera) with other people who were doing it, and he didn’t exactly try to stop them. He has now been charged with criminal trespass and unlawful assembly, both misdemeanors. Paul said on Twitter that he was not participating in the looting; he was simply documenting it: “To be absolutely clear, neither I nor anyone in our group was engaged in any looting or vandalism,” he wrote, adding that he and his group were “not engaging.” He and his fellow Wrong Brother, Logan Paul, did post a video to their YouTube page and podcast urging white people to “acknowledge and weaponize” their privilege, and calling people who don’t believe white privilege exists “delusional”, though, so maybe we don’t have to throw the whole man away.
.@factswithfiona stopped someone boarding up a store in Santa Monica so she could hold the drill for a picture, then drove away. The video is now all over influencer tea accts. She’s since gone private but said nothing pic.twitter.com/K23qssYl0x
— Taylor Lorenz (@TaylorLorenz) June 2, 2020
In Santa Monica, a white woman got exposed for posing with a drill in front of a boarded up storefront, doing a quick photo op to make it look as if she was helping, and then promptly leaving the scene, probably to go to brunch or something. According to CBSLA, the woman, who was later identified as Fiona Moriarty-McLaughlin, was a commentary writer at the conservative publication Washington Examiner before getting dismissed after the video went viral. (A Heavy article later referred to her as an intern. Burn.) Fiona posed with the power drill quickly while a man took her photo, before driving away in her black Mercedes, gabbing about her boyfriend being a good Instagram boyfriend. Lmfao. It’s so bad I almost want to think it’s performance art, for my own sanity. She ended up deleting her accounts, which is the correct response.
The Girl Who Took A Pic In Front Of A Smashed T-Mobile
I knew this would happen eventually pic.twitter.com/V3bB92iaPB
— influencersinthewild (@influencersitw) June 1, 2020
On @influencersinthewild, a young woman who has not been identified was captured on video posing in front of a smashed T-mobile, with her back to the camera, as a man took her picture. I’ve got to wonder what the caption on this post was going to be—I have a feeling it probably would have been about how “I support the right to peacefully protest but I just cannot stand by and watch innocent small businesses get destroyed”. What is even the use of taking or having a picture like this?? Do your 500 closest family and friends really need to see it? Why do you need to be in the picture at all?? Instagram boyfriends, please step up and refuse to let your girlfriends participate in this buffoonery.
Two Girls Who Pregamed and Went
Going to a protest right now is not like going to Coachella, or even the Women’s March—it requires strategic physical and mental preparation because there are risks of violence involved. What it definitely does not require is you putting on your cutest outfit, pregaming, and then heading out to take a few pictures with a homemade sign. And yet, that’s exactly what Instagram user @serafina.0 and her friend @tamella_kay did: they had a whole chat debating if they should go or not, decided to get drunk and then show up, but perhaps worst of all? They posted a screenshot of their convo to their Insta Stories (Close Friends, at least—smh, it be ya own close friends), probably thinking this convo made them sound quirky and cute.
Deadass fuck all these internet bitches forreal. pic.twitter.com/TYGncVS8P2
— leyahli (@goodgalbadrep) May 31, 2020
Well, it didn’t. @tamella_kay ended up deleting her account, and @serafina.0 went private.
It might sound like I’m just trying to drag influencers for the fun of it, but the truth is, attending a Black Lives Matter protest isn’t just like, a fun event to go to for clout or to say you went. Although the majority of protests have been peaceful, there is still a chance you could get hurt, given that police have acted violently towards protestors, firing rubber bullets, teargassing, and even driving police vehicles through crowds. Especially if you are attending as a white ally, you need to be prepared that you may be needed to use your body as a physical shield for Black protestors.
There are a lot of tips and resources for people attending protests out there, so I’ll just state a few that these influencers egregiously ignored. Number one, don’t pregame! You are going to need to have all your wits about you, and alcohol just makes you dumb and slow. Not to mention, it can make some people belligerent, which is extra dangerous if you’re going to be in a heated atmosphere in the presence of agitated police officers. Don’t wear contact lenses, wear comfortable shoes that you can walk in, and do not post videos or photos of protestors’ faces without their explicit permission. Maybe the one thing all these influencers got right is that you shouldn’t go alone and should go with a buddy or in a group if possible, but that’s about it. The bottom line is, it’s great to want to get involved, and do that if you feel comfortable and willing, but don’t do it for your Instagram aesthetic.
Stay safe if you are protesting, and if not, there are plenty of other ways you can help. You can donate to organizations or donate supplies to organizers, sign petitions, literally annoy the sh*t out of your local representatives, and more.
Influencers In The Wild (@influencersinthewild on Instagram and @influencersitw on Twitter) is doing a much more comprehensive job of covering people who are treating the Black Lives Matter protests like it’s Coachella 2020, so follow those accounts if you want more of influencers gone wrong.
Images: Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com; jakepaul, taylorlorenz, influencersitw, goodgalbadrep / Twitter
It’s 2019, and you would think we would have made so much progress by now, but instead, it’s the era where shameless idiots reign supreme. Donald Trump is president, and I honestly do not even know where to begin with listing off all the stupid sh*t he believes. People are legit buying their way into the most prestigious colleges, even though their vapid, apathetic kids have no business being there. And last, but not least, we have social media influencers. Being a social media personality is the easiest job of all time, and they’re totally taking over all facets of media. They even have a reality show for becoming an influencer—it’s called The Bachelor! There are literally no prerequisites for the job—you don’t even have to be charismatic or attractive. All you need are apps to make you pretty, a robot army of followers, and the incessant yearning for attention. And yet these influencers continue to f*ck up their jobs time and time again. Let’s take a look at the some of the biggest influencer scandals and f*ck-ups that have played out on the ‘Gram. Let’s also pray that John Mayer never makes this list because he’s the only reason to keep our social media active anymore.
So apparently there are people out there who will spend their time and money to attend conventions to meet influencers and YouTubers. I mean, I’m someone who has been entertained by the weirdest corners of the internet, from crazy comments in the PornHub comment section to photoshopped images of Guy Fieri as a Renaissance baby, and even I don’t get the appeal of YouTubers. In any case, Bella Thorne’s ex-girlfriend was supposed to show face at TanaCon, which was an actual convention named after her that people willingly bought tickets to.
Long story short, TanaCon was a sh*t show. Her fans waited outside in the heat for hours without water, shade, or food, and Tana blamed other people for not being able to pull off the convention. First off, Postmates will deliver to literally anywhere, guys, so starvation and dehydration were totally avoidable. Just saying. Maybe it’s because the amount of antidepressants I’m prescribed have numbed me from feeling anything anymore, or maybe it’s because I have two brain cells to rub together, but I don’t have much sympathy for someone who waited on line for a female Jake Paul. And second off, I’m still not convinced being a YouTuber is a job, so are we really shocked that Tana couldn’t pull off doing something that was actually—wait for it—an important responsibility? I’m sorry, but what would these people have done at TanaCon to begin with? How is this interesting? Am I too old to understand this sh*t? Do I need to start getting preventative Botox?
Essena O’Neill was a tiny (duh) blonde (duh) vegan (duh) Australian (duh) who got hundreds of thousands of followers for being tiny, blonde, vegan, and Australian. She perfected the science of carefully crafted smoothie bowls that were more detailed than the ceiling of the Sistine chapel, she mastered FaceTune, and she made fake laughing an art form. Then she shocked everyone when she decided to get super preachy and write in her captions about how f*cking fake her Instagram is. I know sh*tting on vegans is as played out of a joke as Nickleback being terrible or girls always going to the bathroom together, but leave it to a vegan to preach. However, I do appreciate these captions and they’re way better than ones pretending to be “profound.” Like, the Buddha did not sit under a tree for 40 days for you to use his quotes as a caption for a picture of you sticking out your nonexistent ass. So while this isn’t a scandal in the same realm as TanaCon or some of the others on this list, within the influencer world, it was a BFG to have such a big influencer come out and admit everything is bullsh*t. In any case, it was refreshing to see authenticity in an otherwise totally fake space. Essena wasn’t telling us anything we don’t already know, but it was still nice to hear her own up to her sh*t.
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NOT REAL LIFE – took over 100 in similar poses trying to make my stomach look good. Would have hardly eaten that day. Would have yelled at my little sister to keep taking them until I was somewhat proud of this. Yep so totally #goals #gamechangers #socialmediaisnotreal #socialmedia #bethechange #movement #essenaoneill
Fake Sponsored Content
For my job, I’ve gotten pretty good at observing social media patterns enough to know who has fake followers and fake body parts. I would say all influencers are full of sh*t, but we know that’s not the case because that FitTea runs riiiight through ’em. But they do do (sorry) very phony things. I even once saw an internet personality create a fake Wikipedia page for herself, post it to her social media, and pretend like a fan did it for her when it was clearly her that did it. LOL nice try, but just like the knock-off designer clothes you’re selling me, I ain’t buying it. But there’s one crazy strategy that even I didn’t notice: fake sponsored content. These people will legit post pictures of items they bought, pretend they were sent them for free, and frame their posts as ads. Every day we stray further from God’s light. I’m not going to lie, having fake sponsors would trick even me into thinking that an influencer is somewhat legit, as long as it’s not a shady protein shake or fit tea. Honestly, I’m not even mad about this one—I’m impressed. These people really take the “fake it til you make it” mantra pretty seriously, huh?
this girl I know really had a sponcon themed bday party. wow what an example of fake it til u make it.
— Jessica Jacolbe (@jessjoycej) April 30, 2018
Alexis Ren vs. Jay Alvarrez
Alexis Ren and Jay Alvarrez captured America’s hearts because they’re extremely attractive and Jay Alvarrez’s helicopter acted as a luxury bang bus to tour the entire world. They shocked our nation when they broke up, because we all thought that the foundation of every healthy relationship is being really, really ridiculously good-looking. Alexis and Jay kept their breakup pretty private at first by simply deleting all the evidence of their relationship on their Instagrams (as you do). BTW, that was like, 80% of their Instagram grids. But then, like most breakups, it got ugly.
Jay would later take not-so-subtle shots at Alexis, saying all she cared about is fame, looks, and materialism, even though he probably has more words for “private jet” than Lala Kent does. Alexis finally (and very publicly) went through the stages of a breakup: changing her hair color, getting tiny tattoos that “mean something” (a gun tattoo on your finger is something you will inevitably regret, Lex), and going on a Twitter tirade that ended with her saying Jay has a small d*ck. Why oh why is it the go-to insult for girls to say a guy has a small d*ck? Size. Doesn’t. Matter. A worse way to insult a guy’s manhood is to insult his technique—not size. I digress (slightly). Alexis later alluded to the fact that he was actually a really unhealthy person to be in a relationship with and was rather emotionally abusive, specifically when it came to her weight. So snaps for Alexis for overcoming a POS guy that everyone else dubbed the “dream boyfriend.”
Jack Wagner’s Wall Experiment
Jack Wagner is like a raccoon that digs around the bottomless pit of trash that is the internet to create incredible content. Between his one-sided bromance with Dan Bilzerian to his recent excavation of Meghan McCain’s painfully awkward tweets, he is the ultimate follow on social media. So Jack Wagner created the best social experiment since Timmy Thicc (which is another subject worth the deep dive): he created an Instagrammable mural that was only available to pose in front of if you have 20,000 followers on social media. He even went as far as hiring a security guard who told a father and his young daughter that they couldn’t snap a pic because they just barely missed 20k followers. Even legit famous actors fell for this prank and showed face to take fake candids. Talk about try-hard. It’s not even a cool mural. It looks like a doodle drawn by some chick that listens to Iggy Azaelea and shoplifts from Forever 21. Wagner alluded that the wall was meant to be a prank/piece of performance art, but people took it seriously, so… was it really?
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very exciting day today folks. to celebrate the upcoming release of my new show @likeandsubscribe we created a beautiful instagramable mural designed specifically for influencers. influencers work so hard every day to curate beautiful feeds and inspire us all, we wanted to make something specifically for them. most of the best murals in LA are already posted too often, which is why this mural is for verified influencers only (or people with over 20k followers). We even hired an armed security team to guard the mural this week to make sure only verified influencers are able to take photos with the mural. this is something i thought influencers would appreciate but unfortunately a lot of them got very mad at this and only had bad things to say. we wanted this mural to capture the themes of positive vibes and love, apparently some people dont have enough of that in their lives. this mural is not about excluding anyone. we put alot of work into making this mural great and we just wanted to showcase it in the most curated way possible. great painters pick the best possible canvas for their masterpieces, we are doing the exact same thing but with accounts. if banksy were alive today i feel like he would do the exact same thing.
Images: Simon Hajducki / Unsplash; versace_tamagotchi, alexisandjay_goals, essena.oneill / Instagram; jessjoycej / Twitter; Giphy