Updated: April 28, 2021 10:52:51 am
While people around the world are struggling to fight the coronavirus pandemic, two influencers are facing backlash online for ridiculing the severity of the crisis and for their disregard to safety protocols. They might have pulled off a prank successfully, but no one was laughing.
Content creator Josh Paler Lin showed himself and his girlfriend, Leia Se (Lisha), trying to enter a local supermarket before a security guard turned them down because she was not wearing a mask. Instead of getting a real face cover, they returned to their car, where Lin used makeup to paint the appearance of a blue surgical mask onto Se’s face!
The duo was allowed inside as the end product did look somewhat like a real mask, complete with white straps, as long as Se didn’t open her mouth.
“Did you notice like no one’s actually looking at you?” Lin is heard in the video. “Exactly, because it looks real,” the woman replied.
“No one noticed! Even the security. I can’t believe this works,” Lin continued bragging about the stunt while the woman laughed.
Although the video was deleted by the influencers on their respective social media handles, it went viral across platforms when locals started calls to deport them. While the woman has been identified as a Russian national, the man in the clip is a Taiwanese national.
The video created a huge uproar online after Niluh Djelantik, a Balinese designer and politician, posted it on Instagram calling out the duo for their brazen prank. “These two people don’t have empathy, in fact making Covid-19 a joke,” slammed Djelantik. “Don’t let them step on Bali’s dignity,” Djelantik added, tagging the immigration office to take strict action against them.
According to Coconut Bali, the passports of the two foreigners were seized by Indonesian immigration authorities. A spokesman from the regional office for the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, confirmed the passport seizure Tuesday, adding that a decision on deportation would be finalised after Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) officers question the influencers.
“They are not only violating, but deliberately provoking in public, so it’s only proper to sanction them more severely, not just with a fine but also deportation,” the head of Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) Dewa Nyoman Rai Dharmadi said.
Following severe backlash online, the two influencers released an apology video. They appeared alongside a legal team and explained that the video was not intended to disrespect the mask mandate or to encourage others not to wear masks, but to “entertain people”.
“I made this video to entertain people because I’m a content creator, and it is my job to entertain people,” Lin said in the apology video. “However, I did not realise that what I did could actually bring a lot of negative comments…and raise a lot of concerns,” he added.
Promising not to do it again, the duo went on to encourage people to “always wear a mask for our own safety and health [and] so we can help Bali to gain its tourism again”.
As per current regulations in Indonesia, a fine of IDR1 million is imposed on visitors the first time they are caught without masks, violating Bali’s mandatory mask rule. A second violation would make visitors liable for deportation.
People on social media commented that while it’s true that influencers rely heavily on viral content, they should be mindful of what they are putting out especially during such difficult times. However, not everyone was ready to accept their apology.
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