Kim K Isn't The Only Influencer Trying To Make Money During The Aussie Bushfires

"Truly insensitive."

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.

The Vegan Influencer Who Ate Fish Still Seems Terrified And I'm Not Surprised

"My biggest mistake was putting a label on myself..."

Social media can create a vicious cycle. There’s a lot of pressure on users to keep up with the quote–unquote glamorous lives of their favourite influencers, and there’s a lot of pressure on influencers to live up to their followers’ expectations. The (not so) perfect example of this is ‘vegan’ influencer and YouTuber Yovana Mendoza, who was unofficially cancelled last year when she was caught on camera eating fish. 

Mendoza was savaged by followers, who populated the hashtags #fakevana nd #fishvana,  claiming the influencer had scammed them with her “raw, vegan, gluten-free, oil-free, soy-free” image, e-books and detox program.

Fast-forward to 2019 and Mendoza has completely overhauled her public image, had her breast implants removed and is on a new “journey” all about “gaining confidence, self-love and being patient with ourselves along the road.”

However, in a recent interview with The Cut, it sounds like Mendoza is still reeling from the backlash she faced over 12 months ago.

“The extent of the backlash really shocked me,” she told The Cut’s Charlotte Cowles. “I deleted all social-media apps from my phone and stayed away from YouTube. People were making so many videos about me, just to get views because they knew it was a trending topic.”

Perhaps, one of the saddest things about Mendoza’s fall from social media grace is that the reason she stopped being vegan was because she had a “small-intestinal bacterial overgrowth” but was reluctant to listen to her doctor’s advice in fear of disappointing her loyal followers.

 “It took me months to actually follow my doctor’s advice and eat an egg,” she said. “Honestly, I was just really scared.”

Mendoza told The Cut, “I realised I based so much of my identity on being vegan and how it made me feel different and special. Not having that label anymore was like, ‘Wait, I’m a normal person?’ But after a little bit of time, I started seeing the bigger picture, and that was freeing.”

She said that looking back, “my biggest mistake was putting a label on myself…And now I try to stay away from anything that automatically separates me from other people.”

While there’s no doubt that Mendoza kept her followers in the dark when it came to her secret fish-eating habits, this whole saga shines a light on the cruelty and hatred that social media breeds. 

If anything, it’s a lesson learned for Mendoza: not to peddle advice or flog a lifestyle that you can’t vouch for yourself. It’s also a learning curve for followers – don’t believe everything you see in your newsfeed.

Kylie Jenner Denies Lawsuits, Reckons Rise 'N Shine Was Just A Bit Of Fun

But you have merch, tho?

It’s not easy being a walking, talking meme. Just ask Kylie Jenner, who is backtracking on reports she came for a Gold Coast mum who ripped off her famous ‘Rise and Shine’ catchphrase with a t-shirt.

ICYMI, Jenner – who is ‘the youngest self-made billionaire ever’ – reportedly sent a cease and desist letter to an Australian woman who was selling t-shirts printed with “rise and shine” earlier this month.

Unless you’ve really been living under a rock, you’d be well aware that Kylie recently attempted to trademark the phrase “rise and shine” after a video of her singing it to her daughter essentially broke the Internet and racked up billions of hashtags on TikTok overnight.

Fast-forward to this week and Jenner reckons it was no big deal. “Guys, please don’t believe everything you read,” she tweeted. “I have not sent any Rise and Shine cease and desist letters. Rise and Shine was an unexpected moment…I had a lot of fun with it, and I have laughed so hard seeing everyone’s memes since the video came out a few weeks ago.”

Jenner hammered her message home by adding the tweet, “There are no lawsuits, no cease and desist letters. Happy Sunday.”

Riddle me this, Ky: if being an overnight meme lord was just a bit of good ol’ fashioned fun, why is there sold out ‘Rise and Shine’ merch on your website?

It’s not the first time the Kardashian-Jenners have cashed in on their media scandals and meme-worthy moments. I mean, how could we possibly forget Kim Kardashian’s emoji spinoff, Kimoji? The reality TV star was flogging phone cases featuring her iconic crying face from season two of Kourtney and Kim Take New York.

Even Kardashian-Jenner matriarch and momager Kris Jenner has her own merch and emojis. 

Then there’s the fact that Kylie did attempt to trademark the phrase “rise and shine” after it catapulted her into global headlines. Sadly, Jenner was blocked by New Jersey woman Cathy Beggan who already owns the right to the “rise and shine” catchphrase as the founder and president of Rise-N-Shine LLC, a nutritional supplement, vitamin, and cosmetics company founded in 2006. 

Sure, “rise and shine” might’ve been a bit of fun, but there’s no denying the Kardashian-Jenners love making a profit if and when they can.

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