I know that it makes me old and not at all with it, but social media influencers are one of those jobs that I still find it hard to believe actually pays.
That said, even I know there are some legitimate folks, who actually do influence large numbers of people to try the products they promote…and then there are a lot more “influencers” out there trying to get access to free stuff they really have no ability to turn into sales.
This tale begins when a post she made about what it’s been like to spend her quarantine in Bali went viral on Twitter, drawing the sort of attention she’d rarely experienced in the past.
Gray and her girlfriend, Saundra, bought one-way tickets to Bali after struggling to start a business and to find a life that suited them.
They were there a few months when the pandemic hit, causing them to extend their planned six-month stay indefinitely.
Gray says they’ve loved their time on the island, praising Indonesia for it’s “safety, low cost of living, luxury lifestyle, and queer friendly and Black in Bali community.”
She even wrote a book called Our Bali life Is Yours, which offers trips for traveling during a pandemic.
The series of tweets caught the attention of immigration officials, who started deportation procedures after finding that Gray violated a number of Balinese immigration laws, including “spreading information that could unsettle the public.”
People online have been quick to criticize her, too – both because of a perception that it’s irresponsible to encourage folks to travel during a pandemic, and because Indonesia is not at all “queer friendly” to it’s citizens.
The bottom line is that even though she’s profiting off her time in Bali, Ms. Gray has spent very little time and effort attempting to not only understand the culture she claims has embraced her during this troubling time, but she has no regard for their laws, either.
Stay home, y’all.
Trust me, your health and safety are enough of an issue for your country of origin; we don’t need to spread the love.