[BALI, INDONESIA] – If there were ever a reason for an influencer to stop posting navel-gazey things online, this is it. After an Internet influencer who moved to Bali posted about how wonderful her life was, the Indonesian government deported her.
28-year-old self-described “digital nomad” and influencer Kristen Gray found herself in a frenzy the other day after her Twitter thread about how happy she was that she moved from the U.S. to Bali went viral. In the tweets she described how awesome her life was and celebrated Bali for its low-cost, queer-friendly place for foreigners to live.
“This island has been amazing because of our elevated lifestyle at much lower cost of living. I was paying $1,300 for my LA studio. Now I have a treehouse for $400,” one of Gray’s posts on Twitter said. She also added links to her e-book once the post took off last Sunday.
Wow awesome. Classic influencer move. Way to rub it in all of our faces. Your life seems so cool.
When influencer posting goes too far…
Once the Indonesian government caught wind of Gray’s posts, it quickly moved to deport her and her girlfriend from the island back to the United States. According to AP, Gray’s posts were considered to have “disseminated information disturbing to the public.” This was apparently the basis for her deportation, said Jamaruli Manihuruk, chief of the Bali regional office for the Ministry of Law and Human Rights.
A statement from the office cited her descriptions of Bali providing comfort for LGBT and being easily accessible during the pandemic. It also referenced tweets with links to her e-book, which had direct links to agents who could help foreigners move to the island. Many Indonesian social media users were furious that she was showing off living and working in Bali without a proper business visa.
Folks – a word of advice? Never post.
First off, it would be discriminatory and wrong for the Indonesian government to punish Gray for promoting her LGBT lifestyle. However, it’s hard to argue with business license laws and COVID-19 safety protocols which have restricted travel. Despite this, Gray feels that being openly LGBT is what resulted in her deportation.
“I am not guilty. I’ve not overstayed my (tourist) visa. I’m not making money in Indonesian rupiah. I put out a statement about LGBT and I am deported because of LGBT,” Gray told reporters. Gray and her partner are currently in immigration detention while waiting for a flight back to the United States.
Again it’s totally cool that Gray is openly gay. But maybe don’t get so braggadocios online about “self-care” or allegedly skirting around pandemic restrictions. It’s tone deaf. Especially during a time when many people are suffering. Folks on Twitter shared their thoughts on the matter as well.
Well this is definitely an unfortunate situation no matter which way you look at it. Folks should definitely follow pandemic safety protocols of countries they are visiting. But at the same time it’s unfair to be discriminated against because of your orientation.
Either way, maybe it’s time for all of us to get off social media.