It’s been a particularly tough week for Australians. Bushfires have ravaged densely populated areas in NSW and Queensland, hundreds of homes have been destroyed, and four people have sadly lost their lives.
Unfortunately, the devastating impact of Australia’s bushfires hasn’t stopped celebrities and influencers from cashing in on the chaos to try and make a few bucks and increase their follower count.
Case in point: Kim Kardashian.
Earlier this week, Kardashian took to Instagram to tell her Aussie fans she’d be sending us “something very special and it’s coming very soon.”
Kim Kardashian was quick to cop major criticism over the video, with followers calling her post “tone deaf” and insensitive.
“Water or firefighters?” one Twitter user asked the reality TV star. “We need that right now. Or money? Farmers and people who lost homes and loved ones need money too.”
Not only was Kim Kardashian’s post a case of poor timing, but it was called out for being in poor taste and sadly, she’s not alone.
Australian influencer Sarah Stevenson is also facing backlash after she told her 1M Instagram followers she had a “fun” plan to donate $1 from the sales of her skincare products to the St Vincent’s Bushfires Appeal over a 48-hour period.
“I was thinking, ‘what else can I do to give back to the bushfire victims and everyone involved?’” she said in her Instagram stories. “If you purchase one of my products with La’Bang, then $1 will go towards that (the appeal) and I’m just so happy that I can give back.”
Stevenson’s followers accused her of “exploiting a tragedy for promotional gain,” and said calling her donation plan “fun” was “truly insensitive.”
This week’s bushfires isn’t the first time influencers have gotten it totally wrong. Last year, Instagram influencers piggybacked off the California wildfires that claimed over one hundred lives.
By using the hashtag #californiawildfires, aspiring influencers were able to tap into followers searching for information about the natural disaster.
The message here is pretty simple: when tragedy strikes, don’t make it about yourself, or use it as an opportunity to leverage fame and fortune. As always, just use your common sense.