Gold Coast influencer Chloe Szepanowski has shared a public apology of sorts with her 649k Instagram followers after she was spotted not wearing a mask while shopping.
Chloe, 22, and her boyfriend Mitchell Orval sparked outrage for ignoring current public health orders and going maskless at Big W in a video they uploaded to YouTube on August 22.
Influencer owns 'mistake'
Chloe, who built a large online following with her health and wellness content, is now reportedly "bleeding followers" following backlash over the video.
Over the weekend, the mum-of-one addressed the negative feedback from social media users, many of whom criticised her for flaunting health advice and being an anti-vaxxer.
"I am not anti or pro anything," Chloe wrote in a lengthy Instagram post.
"I believe in choice. I believe in science, in complementary modalities & western medicine as it saves lives – they are supportive to each other," she added.
Chloe went on to acknowledge that she feels lucky to live where she does, which allows her more freedoms than those living in Covid hotspots.
She also admitted that not wearing a mask in Big W was a 'mistake' for which she takes ownership.
"I never want to come across as abusing those rights. It was my mistake for publicly not wearing a mask and I take ownership of that mistake."
But Chloe's fellow Instagram users weren't convinced, with some accusing her of simply trying to recoup lost followers.
"Nah, you lose followers now you take it all back, wow what a coincidence," wrote a user.
Others saw Chloe's decision to adhere to 'what works for her' as a bit selfish, particularly when it comes to a global pandemic that affects everyone.
"What form of kindness is disregarding others’ health?" another user asked. "There is no personal choice here that doesn’t affect us all. It’s this mindset of “I’m gonna do what best for me and only for me” that makes this situation so dangerous."
Bachie star turned podcaster, Abbie Chatfield, was keen to see Chloe put her money where her mouth is, so to speak, and go get the Covid vaccine.
"Amazing! So happy to hear that believe in science and community. Can’t wait to see your photo of you getting vaccinated. Thanks for being a part of the solution bestie, you can book through hot doc xx," she wrote.
Big drama at Big W
In their Youtube video, a maskless Chloe is seen chatting to Mitch — known as the son of popular YouTuber "Angry Dad" — while walking around Big W to buy a potty for their one-year-old son Arti.
Current health orders in southeast Queensland require people to wear a face mask when they leave home in most indoor and outdoor spaces, unless they have a lawful reason not to. It is not believed either of the pair are medically exempt from wearing a mask, reports news.com.au.
The video has received almost 3.9K dislikes, compared to only 2.5K likes and a flurry of outraged comments.
"It is absolutely disgusting that you think it is okay to use a platform like this to literally endanger and risk other people’s lives," one person fumed.
"It’s disgusting seeing you and Chloe not wearing masks while out shopping. You’re clearly too privileged," was another angry response.
"You can’t even do a simple thing like wear a mask in a public place, endangering the lives of others...Absolutely disgusting behaviour from people who are supposed to be ‘influencers’," was another comment, while a fourth simply wrote: "The self entitlement is gross."
Over on TikTok, the hashtag #chloeszep has also been flooded with videos from former fans saying they have stopped following the pair.
"I’ve never hit unfollow so quick in my life wow," one video was captioned.
At the time, Chloe didn't seem fazed by the backlash, responding to the criticism with another TikTok video captioned "How to continue on with your day even if you don’t agree with something".
But the clip only left more of her followers 'disappointed'.
"I am just so disappointed. I have followed you for YEARS," one fan commented.
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