An influencer has been blasted online after posing in front of the smoky San Francisco skyline, wearing a bright orange ballgown.
Tens of thousands of firefighters were battling 28 major wildfires as of Saturday morning and more than 4000 homes and other structures have been incinerated in California alone over the past three weeks.
At least 26 people have died across the western United States due to the fires since early August.
However, San Francisco-based blogger Colette LeClair, who has over 30,000 followers on Instagram, decided to take to the beach on Wednesday, to pose in a dress before moving from San Francisco to Los Angeles.
The snap has caused fury online, with many calling her out, saying “girl, your state is literally on fire” and calling the photo “grim on so many levels”.
Author Caroline Moss was quick to point out that the post of Colette in an orange dress matching the burnt orange skies was way more insensitive than it was sentimental — especially with a caption advertising where to buy the tulle gown.
”We live in hell,” Moss wrote on Twitter alongside a screenshot of LeClair’s post. “This is an influencer who just posted a photo of clothing she’s selling by *posing in it* on the beach in San Francisco as forest fires rage around her.”
The caption captured in the Instagram screenshot showed Colette’s attempt to drive traffic to her blog by advertising the designer of the gown she was wearing.
Later, she changed the caption and it appears she’s now turned the comments on the post off.
“My last day here! Wanted to say goodbye to the ocean and beach and do something I used to enjoy so much here for years- TRIPOD PHOTOS,” she started the new caption.
“Currently gathering a lot of clothes to donate-yay! this one will not make it with me to LA, but there is someone here who will adore it.
“And to Clarify- I drove to the beach on my last night in town, and took photos, I love taking photos. I have taken photos for the last 3 years in this city. I love this city. There have been fires going on for weeks in California. It is devastating. Prayers for people dealing with the fires. SENDING YOU ALL LOVE.”
She told Yahoo Life that the post was meant as a simple goodbye to San Francisco before moving away.
“I take photos on the beach. I love the beach,” she said. “I went to the beach, wore a dress I was donating the next day.”
She also acknowledged the fires taking place close to home. “There is a forest fire 100 miles from where I live, according to the news. It is heartbreaking,” she said.
“I am always Googling the fires and have been since they started, as most people in California would do. I am very sorry for the fires.”
Despite her caption change, some people on Twitter are still upset.
She changed and caption and turned off comments , but still selling the dress.
— Elizabeth (@cheesee_lizee) September 10, 2020
Grim on so many levels.
— Wear. your. mask. (@rosie_ann_leigh) September 10, 2020
May be her agent talked her into believe the next photoshoot is in Mars, so let us rehearse one before they head out to red planet. She disabled the comments to this post. She knew what was coming. #tonedeaf
— Faaju AlFatah (@FaajuAlFatah) September 10, 2020
Moss didn’t immediately respond to Yahoo Life’s request for comment. However, she isn’t the only person on social media who is holding influencers accountable for the tone of their posts during this time.
i just saw this influencer post “it’s perfect selfie lighting outside 😌”
girl, your state is literally on fIRE
— mama rooosh (@sushiroosh) September 10, 2020
an influencer in the middle of the california fires: hey guys I just wanted to hop on here really quick to say I know times are hard right now but remember to be yourself!!!
— Tanya Chen (@tanyachen) September 10, 2020
"We all want these fires to be put out, but remember to never put out the fire in your heart.
I know I never do and my Fit Tea gives me the energy I need to push through each day."
— Jay 🚀 (@MisterJHuffman) September 10, 2020