How many days have we been quarantining? I stopped counting weeks ago—it got too depressing—but it’s officially been long enough for a public figure to be canceled, take a few weeks off of social media, then make their PR-approved reappearance into the public sphere. You love to see it. Or do you? I don’t know anymore. Of course, I’m talking about Arielle Charnas, the fashion influencer who was universally dragged last month for her bizarre choices after testing positive for COVID-19.
After a couple weeks of confusing posts, sh*t hit the fan for Arielle when a Twitter thread breaking down the timeline of her actions went viral. The issues centered around her decision to travel with her family from New York City to a rented home in the Hamptons while she was likely still contagious. There’s a lot more to the story, and I recommend reading this article for a full refresher, but none of it made her look great.
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After the backlash became too much to ignore, she took to Instagram on April 2nd, with a written apology post so long that I still can’t force myself to make it to the end. Actually, I’m not sure “apology” is the right word, because it reads more like an extended justification, but I think that’s what the intent was. Along with that post, she addressed the controversy in a series of Instagram stories of her hysterically crying.
Anyway, since those posts on the 2nd, it’s been radio silence from Arielle Charnas, which was probably a smart move. To her credit, she didn’t turn off comments on her “apology” post, and some of them are… intense. Arielle definitely made some dumb decisions, but I think anyone would need a break from social media after that.
On Friday afternoon, the three-week drought came to an end when Charnas posted a photo with her two kids. For the record, it is very cute, and I would expect nothing less. In the caption, she thanks her followers for “letting me take time to reflect”, which is a classic celebrity apology go-to. I love when celebrities say sh*t like this because it’s like, what’s the alternative—her followers go to her house and demand that she post something? Don’t get me wrong, I would be hiding out after getting virally shamed too, I just love that it’s always rebranded as if it’s done by choice.
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We missed you guys so much!! Thank you for letting me take time to reflect and be with my family. It has opened my eyes in so many ways both personally and professionally and it is this growth that I am extremely grateful for. Can’t wait to reconnect with you all – love you guys. 🤍
She continues, saying this time “has opened my eyes in so many ways both personally and professionally and it is this growth that I am extremely grateful for.” Ah yes, the textbook sentiments of eyes being opened and painful growth and, above all, gratitude. Arielle finishes by saying that she “can’t wait to reconnect” with her audience, and I don’t doubt that at all. Imagine being a professional Instagram personality stuck inside your house, and for three weeks you can’t even post on Instagram? That sounds like absolute torture.
It’s pretty clear that this relatively short Instagram caption was crafted within an inch of its life by a PR team, and that’s pretty much what I would expect. It’ll be more interesting to see, in the coming weeks and months, if Arielle Charnas actually seems to change anything about her content, or how she lives her life, or if she’s just saying what a publicist told her to. It will be equally interesting to see if this scandal will continue to put her future actions under a microscope, or if our collective memory span is too short to hold people accountable for prolonged periods of time. Only time will tell, and at this point, it’s not like I have anything else to pay attention to.
Images: Ben Gabbe/Getty Images for Fossil; ariellecharnas / Instagram (2)
It’s a new year, but to the surprise of absolutely no one, influencers are still on their bullsh*t. 2019 was full of influencer scandals ranging from stolen handbags to shilling actual poison, and based on today’s story, 2020 won’t be any different. This week, a Canadian influencer was ordered to pay her ex $145,000 for spreading false rumors that he had STDs, which like, oof. The decision was a landmark case in the laws surrounding defamation in British Columbia, and also a landmark case in proving that your ex might not be that bad after all.
At the center of this case, we have Noelle Halcrow, a Vancouver influencer with an astounding 17,000 followers on Instagram. In the age of mega-influencers, that’s not a lot, but whatever, it’s still more followers than I have. Sadly, her page is private (waiting to see if my follow request is accepted), but all of the reports about the case call her a “style blogger and influencer”, so I guess at one point she like, posted her outfits on Instagram. One time, I influenced my friends to get Taco Bell when we were drunk, so truly anyone can be an influencer.
According to court documents, Noelle Halcrow “began an on-again, off-again relationship with a business consultant named Brandon Rook in 2015,” but he broke things off for good in 2016. The fact that this was an “on-again, off-again” relationship from the start is definitely a bad sign, but sadly, the court documents don’t give a detailed summary of the entire relationship. It’s really rude of them not to paint a full picture of the red flags in this situation, but either way, the relationship didn’t last.
According to a statement from Rook’s lawyer, after the breakup, Noelle “went on and published time and time again, over many days—actually a year, or maybe more than that—various versions of the same statement that the guy was a dog, basically.” Okay, so Noelle was maybeee a little obsessed with this dude. Given the timeline from the court documents, they weren’t together for more than a year (and they were on/off during that time), so she kept posting sh*t about this dude for longer than the relationship even lasted. Yikes.
Just to get a little taste, here’s the text of an Instagram post from Halcrow that was shown in court: “Known cheater, proud of it! STDs and spread them…” Cute! There were over 100 messages like this shared as evidence, and not just from her own account. According to the court documents, Halcrow made multiple Instagram accounts for the rumors, as well as websites such as “cheatersandbastards.org” and “stdregistry.org”. (Before you go checking that second domain, it’s not a site that actually exists.) That’s commitment. In a classic move, Halcrow tried to pretend she wasn’t the one who posted all of these messages, but that her friends did it. Suuuure. A “friend” whose name is Shmoelle Shmalcrow? Sadly for her, the posts were all traced back to Noelle’s IP address, because she was not exactly Mr. Robot.
And even worse, after initially deleting some of the messages, Halcrow TEXTED ROOK threatening to post them again. This text is truly deranged: “I told you second I posted pics. This time you need to search for them and figure how many people I tag. Stupidly I took down but easy get back and I own this account names. And only thing you can get deleted on Instagram is porn. My account people say bad things I own it so I can take down two seconds and alerts my phone.” Okay, this woman needs to get a f*cking grip (on her sanity, and the English language). Not only is she unhinged, but she’s also wrong. You can get plenty of stuff taken down off Instagram as long as it gets reported, as evidenced by the time I made a joke about how people who drink extra-strength Five Hour Energy should just grow up and do cocaine, and Instagram removed it for “promoting drug use”.
In the judge’s decision against Halcrow, he called her smear campaign against Rook “relentless” and “out of spite,” which sounds like how my stomach reacts after I eat too much Chipotle. Sorry, TMI. The judgment for $154,000 is one of the largest defamation awards in the history of British Columbia, and legal experts say it sends an important message in the age of people saying whatever tf they want on social media. Media consultant Katie Dunsworth-Reiach said that even when messages are deleted, “Google is a powerful tool, and it does live on and it’s very expensive to clean up.” Basically, don’t spread false rumors that your ex has STDs, in Canada at least, because that sh*t could come back to haunt you. It might feel better in the moment, but the $154K judgment against you sure won’t.
Images: mooshny / Shutterstock.com
Earlier today, I wrote about what I thought would be the last crazy influencer scandal of the year. It is December 18, after all. That story had everything: guns, prison sentences, and petty disputes over web domains. It seemed like the perfect way to close out a year of influencers generally being the worst. But, reader, I SPOKE. TOO. SOON. Lo and behold, we have another story that is almost hard to believe, except for the fact that I literally wouldn’t put anything past influencers anymore.
There are certain things in this world that we should just know not to believe. Things like “I’m not like other guys,” or “I will definitely pull out” come to mind, but this should also definitely be applied to influencers telling us that they only endorse products they really believe in, or even use at all. Sorry, Khloé Kardashian, but no one buys that you achieved a total body transformation through a regimen of diarrhea tea and waist trainers. The BBC apparently doesn’t trust influencers’ promises about the products they shill either, so they decided to pull a little sting operation to expose their shady ways.
On the most recent episode of Blindboy Undestroys the World, which is basically like Punk’d, but with social justice undertones, three reality TV personalities were dragged into a situation that they’re definitely regretting right now. Lauren Goodger and Mike Hassini (from The Only Way Is Essex—basically the British version of The Hills), along with Zara Holland (from Love Island), were all approached about doing ads for a weight loss beverage that was literally poisonous, and they all said yes. Yeah, it’s a big ol’ yikes.
The drink (which doesn’t actually exist) was called Cyonora, and was alleged to contain hydrogen cyanide, which is literally like, the most famous poison. Despite the ingredient being specifically highlighted, both on the label and in the ad copy, none of our three influencers in question had any qualms about shilling for the drink. When asked about promoting the drink, they were told that the product was still in development, and that they wouldn’t “be able to drink it until it’s launched.” Mike Hassini said that was “absolutely fine,” and Zara said that it’s “not a problem,” despite her agent clarifying that she wouldn’t lie to promote the product. Good for the agent, but clearly these people don’t give a sh*t.
Lauren’s agent clearly wasn’t concerned about lying, saying directly that “Half these posts you see that people do, they’re not even trying them half the time anyway.” So would that amount to… a quarter of the time? The interviewer then double checked that it wouldn’t be a problem for Lauren to promote a drink she hadn’t tried, and she just shook her head. Lauren is probably the worst offender here. After agreeing to do the Cyonora promotion, she willingly shared that she had never tried Skinny Coffee, another weight loss product she promoted earlier this year. She claimed on social media to have lost weight by drinking Skinny Coffee, and said friends messaged her asking if it really worked. She seemed surprised anyone would even believe she actually used it, saying she told her friends, “Do you not know this by now?”
Lauren’s agent did ask for clarification about the ingredients in Cyonora, saying she had received backlash over Skinny Coffee because of the laxatives in the drink. But asking isn’t the same thing as actually caring, it doesn’t really seem like Lauren cared. After being told about the ingredients (aka cyanide), Lauren—along with Zara and Mike—still taped a practice run of an ad script which contained multiple mentions of the LITERAL CYANIDE in the drink.
In the wake of the show airing, these morons obviously tried to cover their asses, and Lauren and Zara’s reps both spoke to BuzzFeed News about how they were misrepresented on the show. Zara, in a classic move, blamed the editors, saying that the “full edit” wasn’t shown, and that she claims to “only promote products that I have tried first and know a lot of detail about them.” But just like any reality show, the editors can’t literally put words in her mouth, and Zara said she would promote the drink without trying it!
Lauren’s rep issued a similar statement, saying that “proper checks would have been made” if she was actually going to promote the product. As for not raising more concerns when reading the script with the CYANIDE references, Lauren said that “As with any audition you people please and say what they want to hear.” HA. Sorry, but reading a line the way the director asked and not asking why a weight loss drink has poison in it are not the same thing!!
Overall, it’s impossible to know if these people would have actually gone through with knowingly promoting cyanide juice, but their behavior on camera doesn’t exactly instill confidence that influencers are being thorough with vetting the products they make money off of claiming to use. This is disappointing, but it’s zero percent surprising—if we know anything by now, it’s that we should expect nothing from these people. They’re mostly clowns doing their best to avoid having to get real jobs, and if cyanide juice is willing to cut them a hefty check, they’re not going to ask a lot of questions.
If you’re the kind of person who is still buying products based on influencer recommendations, you should probably be a little more careful. Of course, some things aren’t harmful, or could even be beneficial, but the weight loss drinks are just never going to work the way you want them to. Sorry, but you should know this by now!
Images: laurengoodger, zaraholland / Instagram; Skinny Coffee Club
At this point, it’s really difficult to be shocked by anything an influencer does, but this story just might do it. This year, we’ve seen influencers post problematic ads, lie about their lifestyles, and fake sexual assaults, but none of that can compare to the 14-year prison sentence that was recently give to Rossi Lorathio Adams. We’re used to these people doing shady sh*t, but what he did is on a whole different level.
Adams began his social media career in 2015, when he founded an account called State Snaps. The account, which grew to over a million followers across Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram, featured user-submitted content centering around, to quote the US Attorney’s Office statement, “young adults engaged in crude behavior, drunkenness, and nudity.” Basically, the content was a whole lot of people behaving badly, and naturally, people loved it. (Kind of reminds me of another site that ended up in the news for all the wrong reasons, I’m Shmacked.) To submit content, followers used the hashtag #DoItForState, and it became the slogan of the whole account.
Logically, Adams wanted to create a website using the slogan, but doitforstate.com wasn’t available. It was registered through GoDaddy to a man in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, but that didn’t sit so well with Adams. Between 2015 and 2017, he continually tried to convince the man to give up the domain name, offering to buy it from him, but his efforts didn’t work. So, in June 2017, he went for a different tactic. Buckle up, because this is where this goes from “Fyre Festival promo video” to “Law & Order episode”.
Adams and his cousin, Sherman Hopkins Jr. (who is a convicted felon), drove to the house of the domain owner and Hopkins broke into the home. According to the statement, he was wearing dark sunglasses and pantyhose over his head, and was carrying a stolen gun and taser, along with a note with instructions on how to transfer the domain name to Adams. Surprise, surprise, they didn’t make it to that part. Hopkins held the gun to the man’s head, and also pistol-whipped him with it several times, but the man was then able to take the gun. In the struggle, he accidentally got shot in the leg, but then he shot Hopkins in the stomach several times, and finally called the police.
I’m kind of obsessed with this story. First of all, imagine caring this much about anything—let alone a f*cking WEBSITE URL. Like, just add a hyphen or something, no one will even know the difference! If you have a million followers on Instagram, I’m pretty sure it’s gonna be fine either way. In fact, the company’s website is currently up and running at “doit4state.com,” which is like, the same thing!! (We couldn’t find their official social media pages, so we’ll assume those have been shut down.) This whole thing is so dumb I can’t even handle it.
But I also can’t believe how wild things got once Hopkins broke into the house. He essentially waltzed in there with a sad, handwritten note explaining how to use GoDaddy’s features, and things just went so wildly wrong. I really can’t wait for the inevitable Hulu miniseries about this fiasco, because it’s going to be incredible.
Now, more than two years after the original incident, the legal loose ends have finally been tied up. Hopkins, who survived the shooting, was sentenced to 20 years in prison, which actually kind of surprised me. Like, not that he doesn’t deserve it, but I still can’t believe that all of this happened because someone wanted a domain name. As for Adams, he was convicted of “conspiracy to interfere with commerce by force, threats and violence” back in April, and last week, he was finally sentenced. He received 168 months in federal prison (that’s 14 years, idk why they write these things like moms saying how old their toddler is), and was also ordered to pay nearly $35,000 in restitution and fees. According to the legal documents, he had a public defender but was continuing to make money off of the State Snaps accounts while the case was being tried, so he has to pony up the legal fees. As for the prison time, doing some sponsored posts probably won’t help out with that (especially considering he does not appear to have an Instagram).
If this is the last influencer scandal we talk about in 2019, it feels like a fitting climax to a crazy year. Will 2020 be the year that influencers finally get their sh*t together and stop giving us reasons to talk about them? Almost certainly not. These people have proven time and time again that they don’t know how to act, and the content just keeps on coming. Best of luck to Rossi Adams in prison, and uh…don’t shoot anyone for a domain name, kids.
Images: Linn County Corrections
In this age of influencer marketing and social media scams, we all know not to take everything at face value. The pic is probably Photoshopped, those free sunglasses definitely have $20 shipping, and look, people probably don’t have quite as much money as they’d like you to think. But some cases take your average social media fakery a step further, and this is definitely one of those cases. Chinese influencer Lisa Li got exposed in a major way, and by her own landlord.
Instagram has been banned in China since 2014 due to political censorship reasons (we won’t go into that here), so influencer culture there is a little different. The biggest social network is called Sina Weibo, and it has over 400 million users. Lisa Li, who has over a million followers, is known for posting photos of her lavish travel, luxury handbags, and extravagant dining experiences. But it turns out that her private life isn’t so glamorous, and last week, her landlady posted a video exposing her nasty-ass apartment for the world to see.
Now, you might be thinking “Isn’t that kind of a f*cked up thing for her landlord to do?”, but you guys…this apartment. I’m not saying I always keep my place sparkly clean, but Lisa Li is literally living in filth. The full video is embedded at the bottom of this article, but I’ve taken screenshots of some particularly egregious moments to better examine. Here’s the floor of the bathroom:
In this photo, you can see a broom and at least two other floor cleaning devices, which is funny, considering this room obviously hasn’t been cleaned since the mid-90s. There’s also garbage on the floor literal centimeters from the garbage can, which is just stupid. While that bathroom definitely needs a good wiping down, it’s not even the scariest part of this apartment tour from hell.
Have a look at this:
I feel like I would need to wear an oxygen mask just to enter this room, so it’s alarming that someone might actually be living here. That floor is dirty to the point that it looks rotted, and that dog bed needs to be thrown away like, 10 years ago. I love the random pink pet food dispenser in the middle of the floor, sitting there unused as if the dog died years ago. This is just foul, and on a level that I can’t even wrap my mind around.
But out of all the Hoarders nightmare footage, this shot is probably my favorite:
You’ve got some classic signs of a trashy apartment: couch with a tragic old blanked thrown over it, dozens of cardboard boxes, and one of those exercise hula hoops that you definitely haven’t touched in years. But the best thing about this is that there is a f*cking Dior handbag sitting on that table. The closest bag I was able to find on the Dior website currently retails for a cool $3,600. I CAN’T. Monsieur Christian Dior is fully rolling in his grave knowing that a bag with his name on it is sitting in a living room like that.
After the landlady posted this video, there was a subsequent video of Lisa Li meeting with her, where she apologized and said she would clean her apartment. That’s all well and good, but I think at this point there needs to be a full Hazmat team coming to clean things up. Or, just burn the whole building down and start over, because that might be quicker.
This is obviously super embarrassing for Lisa, and she’s gotten thousands of comments on her Weibo page calling her out for being so misleading about her lifestyle. But really, I don’t see why we should feel bad for her at all, because she really did it to herself. Plenty of people live in crappy apartments, but they’re not constantly posting their Chanel bags and fancy trips. Maybe if we were all a little more honest about our lifestyles, people wouldn’t feel like they need to do this kind of sh*t.
Here’s the full video of Lisa Li’s apartment, in case those photos weren’t triggering enough:
Images: Anthony Tran / Unsplash; Times News / YouTube (4)