The World's Patience With Influencers Is Wearing Thin Amidst The Pandemic

"Please stop for a second and think."

The global pandemic has resulted in record job losses, fear, uncertainty and challenging times for many of us. It has also impacted the livelihoods of influencers, who make a quick buck by promoting brands and products on their social media platforms. However, with many brands reluctant to spend money on advertising during the pandemic, influencers have been left high and dry and resorting to some questionable tactics to keep the money coming in.

Aussie Instagram influencer Miann Scanlan landed in hot water this week when she sent out an 11-page marketing proposal to PR agencies offering “an opportunity for brands to gain access to her stories free of charge through birthday gift story unboxings.” She said the first Instagram story would be free until August 7th, and then any additional post would cost $50 per story. 

According to the Daily Telegraph, one publicist labelled Scanlan’s proposal “really distasteful” given the current circumstances and that many businesses are struggling to make ends meet amidst the pandemic.

Following the backlash, Scanlan told her 48.6K Instagram followers she resigned from her full time job earlier this year which was “bad timing as the pandemic hit just after.” The Brisbane-based influencer said she began shooting Instagram content “with hopes to secure paid campaigns,” and that her proposal was merely a way to “reconnect” with old and new PR agencies.

“I have a platform with the ability to boost enquiries and sales for businesses and brands with the potential to also generate income for myself, so why should I be any different?” she ended her lengthy post.

While it appears Scanlan’s ‘I’ll scratch your back, if you scratch mine’ strategy backfired, this isn’t the first time brands, businesses and agencies have gone head-to-head with social media influencers amidst the pandemic. 

Speaking of influencers, hear Martha from Married at First get real about reality TV below:

In April, New Zealand patisserie and dessert restaurant Miann, took to Instagram to call out influencers directly. “Dear influencer,” the post begins. “Before you send that email asking us to ‘collab’ with you in return for free products to post on your social pages, PLEASE STOP FOR A SECOND AND THINK.”

“Think about the restaurateurs, food producers, that have had ZERO income for a month, the possibility of 50% drop in revenue for the next few months. Think about the PEOPLE whom you are asking for stuff for free from, to boost your own profile,” they wrote. 

“It’s time for you to bring value to your local businesses and go order some food from your favourite places, pay for it, post it, feel good about it. You just helped a small business!”

It was a similar story after actor Harry Cook DM’ed P&V Wine + Liquor Merchants in Sydney looking for a “collab”. Cook asked the business if they’d consider “sending a complimentary case once a month in exchange for some social media promotion?”

The 29-year-old actor was quickly shut down by P&V, who said his message was “totally uncool.”

“We’re in here working our asses off to support a near-devastated hospitality industry with ramifications on primary producers and winemakers who are at the brink in a destroyed industry and you want a free dozen wines a month for social posts? Nah,” they responded.

All of the above is a perfect lesson in reading the room, and realising the reality of the world we’re living in at the moment. 

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Johnny Depp And Amber Heard’s Court Battle Was An Emotional Rollercoaster

They've been battling for years.

After years of battling it out in court, it seems as though the savage Johnny Depp and Amber Heard saga might be finally coming to an end. Hear all about it below:

This week – on the final day of Depp’s libel suit against UK publication The Sun – Heard delivered a powerful speech to the press and public. “After obtaining a restraining order in 2016 and finalising my divorce, I just wanted to move on my life. I did not file this lawsuit and, despite its significance, I would have preferred not to be here in court.”

“It has been incredibly painful to relive the break up of my relationship, have my motives and my truth questioned, and the most traumatic and intimate details of my life with Johnny shared in court and broadcast around the world,” she said, despite boos and shouts of “justice for Johnny” from onlookers. 

So, how did this messy court battle begin?

Heard and Depp wed in a private ceremony in 2015 and apart from their dog-related biosecurity breach in Australia and infamous apology video, things seemed to be going well for the newlyweds.

However, just one year after tying the knot, Heard filed for divorce and for a temporary restraining order against Johnny. The actress claimed he physically abused her and after a lot of ‘he said, she said’, Depp paid Heard a settlement $7M, and the pair finalised their divorce in 2017. Heard reportedly donated most of the money to charity.

But, that wasn’t the end of the nightmare.

In 2018 – at the peak of the #MeToo movement – Heard wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post about her being a survivor of domestic abuse. While Heard never specifically named Depp in the piece, he sued her for $50M for defamation. 

Two years on, and what must’ve been some incredibly expensive court proceedings, Depp filed a libel suit against The Sun over a 2018 article in which the publication called him a “wife beater”.

During the three-week trial, Depp and Heard made some shocking allegations against each other. Depp alleged that Heard had defecated in their bed, punched him and had affairs with everyone from James Franco to Elon Musk. On the other hand, Heard accused Depp of physically abusing her, throwing a phone at her face, leaving her bruised and even threatening to kill her on multiple occasions.

It’s distressing to think Johnny Depp and Amber Heard officially split up in 2017 but they’re still battling it out in court three years on. Sadly, it doesn’t sound like anyone is going to come out of this saga unscathed, and ultimately, there will be no winners. 

If you, or anyone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or 1800 RESPECT for support.

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Here's The Deal With All Those Black-And-White Selfies On Instagram

Challenge accepted.

Whether it’s speedy hand gestures, 10-year throwback pics, ridiculous fashion statements or quarantine bingo – Instagram has become a hotbed for trending ‘challenges’ in the last few years. Over the past week, however, a new one has popped up – but instead of using it to rack up followers, female Instagram users are posting black-and-white selfies to empower other women.

It’s all part of the the ‘Challenge Accepted’ Instagram movement that’s encouraging women to post confident black-and-white selfies under the hashtag #womenempoweringwomen and nominate others to share their own.

The hashtag, which is now housing over 7.7M posts, has gained support from the likes of Gabrielle Union, Kristen Bell, Jennifer Lopez, Amy Adams, Jennifer Aniston, Demi Moore, Khloe Kardashian, Naomi Watts and more – each with their own spin on the caption.

Actor Taraji P. Henson shared her selfie, captioning it, “it is a NOT a challenge to love my sisters but a gift and a bond that we have and we should cherish as long as we walk this earth.”

Despite the empowering undertone of the Instagram ‘challenge’, it has also attracted criticism from social media users who view it as an ‘empty gesture’ amidst the global pandemic and protests against racism. Hear about how you can help Black Lives Matter protests below:

According to The New York Times, #womeempoweringwomen may have originated from the video of Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaking out against Ted Yoho’s sexist remarks about her.

However, other reports suggest the hashtag originated from a campaign in Turkey inspired by violence against women and the shocking murder of a 27-year-old student named Pinar Gültekin.

Some high profile Instagram users have used their nominations to push for racial justice, including Padma Lakshmi, who – along with her own black-and-white selfie – shared images of four Black women killed in acts of police brutality.

If anything, the power of these hashtags – whether they encourage true advocacy and change or not – should empower everyone to use their social media platforms for good, but to also keep driving attention to the issues that matter the most.

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