If you follow any Love Island or Geordie Shore influencers on Instagram, you will have noticed many of them recently posting photos from rather more luxurious locations. Despite the UK being in a national lockdown, social media personalities have flocked to Dubai, which is not subject to the same restrictive measures. As ‘essential work trips’ are one of the few justifications allowed for travel outside of the UK, the influencers are citing their trips as ‘for business’.
Influencers are apparently unable to offer the same level of content when working from home under lockdown. These social media stars are undoubtedly exploiting a loophole in government guidance. Influencer or promotional work is not exactly included in the list of essential workers.
The public have been very critical of these celebrities, labelling them as out of touch. They present their idyllic lives, staying in luxury hotels, enjoying cocktails on the beach; seemingly ignorant of what is happening in the UK.
Unsurprisingly the UAE government have stated they have seen a significant acceleration in the number of imported cases of Coronavirus. Influencers are risking the lives of others, both as they travel and return home, possibly putting more strain on the NHS. These trips are completely unnecessary, therefore making these actions selfish. Reassuringly, as of the 12th January, Dubai has been removed from the UK travel corridor list meaning those returning must now isolate for 2 weeks.
It must be noted that many of these influencers are being flown out by big brands to create sponsored content and appear in shoots. Why are brands deciding to do this? Over the first lockdown, many clothing brands adapted for influencers to work from home and create home-made content supplying clothes and guidance for at home shoots.
Social media influencing is the perfect job to be done from home! Influencers can make money from anywhere, producing content reflective of and appropriate to the times we are living in.
Obviously this creates jealousy; most of us wish we could jet off to Dubai and leave behind the cold dreariness and anxieties of lockdown 3. Using the excuse ‘I’m working, I’m not on holiday!’ just seems patronising to us at home diligently following the rules. Also, this behaviour does not help to win over those who are already critical of reality stars.
Influencers who have made the decision to go abroad have lost followers, with Amber Gill losing 25k followers since she appeared to have been in Dubai since Christmas.
While I do not believe cancel culture is an effective form of educating people about their mistakes, these influencers are not helping themselves in their attempted ‘apologies’ or justifications.
Laughably, when Aton Danyluk’s agent was approached by The Guardian for a comment on the situation, his agent asked if the influencer would receive a fee.
Fitness blogger Sheridan Mordew, appeared on ITV This Morning justifying her move to Dubai for her own mental health, as she was suffering during the pandemic, being unable to create fitness content at home. Everyone has suffered during the pandemic; those working who have lost loved ones due to the virus and the NHS workers and other key workers who risk their lives to help others. While it is difficult to disagree with someone about their mental health, it seems influencers are using their mental wellbeing to justify arguably immoral actions.
These social media stars are presenting themselves as out of touch with their audience at this current time of crisis. They must be more thoughtful of their actions or risk losing more of their following.
Header image credit: The Sun Best