- Czech Instagram influencers Sabina Dolezalova and Zdenek Sloukat apologized after posting a video that showed Slouka splashing Dolezalova’s butt with holy water at the Beji Temple in Bali’s Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary.
- The post received backlash after it was re-uploaded by a Balinese senator, with many calling the couple’s actions disrespectful.
- Slouka and Dolezalova later posted a second video apologizing for the incident and said they did not realize the water and the temple were holy.
Backlash in Bali
Two influencers apologized after receiving backlash for posting a video of themselves playing with holy water at a temple in Bali.
The now-deleted video was posted by Czech fitness influencers Sabina Dolezalova and Zdenek Sloukat at a temple in Bali’s Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Ubud.
In the video, Dolezalova bent over and lifted her skirt while Slouka splashed holy water on her butt.
The couple came under fire for the video after Balinese senator Arya Wedakarna reuploaded the video on his Instagram account saying it was “insensitive” and that the influencers were “harassing” the temple.
Many people reacted to the post, condemning the couple for disrespecting Bali’s culture and calling for them to be kicked out of the country.
“This is completely insensitive to local culture,” one user wrote. “Before you travel to another country you should read up on local culture and educate yourself.”
Dolezalova and Slouka posted a video apologizing for the stunt, which Wedakarna also shared on his Instagram along with a screenshot of a private message Dolezalova sent him apologizing for the incident.
“We are so sorry about the video from yesterday,” Slouka said in the video. “We dishonored the holy temple and holy water in Ubud and we didn’t know it. So we are so sorry about what happened and apologize to you.”
“We had no idea that was some holy water or that there is a holy temple so we really didn’t want to do anything bad,” Dolezalova added. “We are so truly sorry and we hope you gonna forgive us, and now we are just finding what we can do to fix it.”
But the outrage did not end there. Some responded to the apology video saying that it seemed insincere or fake.
Others who spoke Czech pointed out that the influencers must have known it was holy water because the person filming the video told them it was.
“They knew very well it was holy water the woman filming this says it out and loud,” one user wrote.
“You apologized just because you got caught,” another user said.
After the video went viral, Bali’s governor Wayan Koster announced that the government would do more to protect holy sites from tourists.
“In the future, if there are tourists behaving like that we should just send them home, they are being disorderly coming to Bali,” he said in a statement. “We will give them this warning.”
According to The Telegraph, the couple tried to make amends with the people of Bali by participating in “a ritual purification ceremony where they wore traditional clothes and touched pressed hands to their heads as a show of respect.”
Wedakarna argued that the ritual should be mandatory for tourists who publicly disrespect Bali in the future.
“They made a mistake sullying our island,” he told reporters. “Anyone who violates our traditions must take part in a purification ritual.”
Dolezalova’s manager also told the Czech site Sezman that the situation had been resolved.
“Sabina and her friends are continuing on holiday as planned,” he said. “A voluntary contribution was proposed to the local village. Whatever amount Sabina and her friends give, it is up to them and purely voluntary.”
See what others are saying: (The Independent) (VICE) (Yahoo News)
YouTube Apologizes and Reverses Policy That Would Have Unverified Several Creators
- YouTube reversed an upcoming change to its verification system that would have removed the verification checkmarks from many creators, including some with more than a million subscribers.
- YouTube said, starting by the end of October, it will update the application process for verification by confirming the channel’s identity as well as by ensuring the channel is “complete” with an icon, content, and recent activity.
- Users who would have lost their checkmark praised the decision after originally expressing concern over the previous announcement.
YouTube Reverses Verification Policy Change
A day after YouTube announced it would be removing the verification checkmarks of some creators, it reversed course on Friday, saying creators who are already verified can keep their verification.
“To our creators & users–I’m sorry for the frustration & hurt that we caused with our new approach to verification,” YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said on Twitter. “While trying to make improvements, we missed the mark.”
“We heard loud & clear how much the badge means to you,” she continued. “Channels that currently have verification will now keep it without appeal. We’ll continue reviewing those channels to ensure we’re protecting creators from impersonation.”
A post on YouTube Creator Blog echoed and expanded on Wojcicki’s tweets, saying the move was originally intended to curb impersonations and clear up associations with what the checkmark means.
“The idea behind this update was to protect creators from impersonation and address user confusion,” the blog post reads. “Every year, we receive tens of thousands of complaints from creators about impersonation. Also, nearly a third of YouTube users told us that they misunderstood the badge’s meaning, associating it with *endorsement of content*, and not an indicator of *identity*. While rolling out improvements to this program, we completely missed the mark. We’re sorry for the frustration that this caused and we have a few updates to share.”
Many creators praised YouTube for listening to their concerns.
“Couldn’t be happier that YouTube listened to creators about verification badges and that Susan personally addressed the issue,” LifewithMaK said on Twitter. “There truly is strength in numbers. Our voices were heard loud and clear.”
Thanks so much, Susan. This really does mean a lot to us 🔑— Ryan B. (@PrestigeIsKey) September 20, 2019
Thank you Susan 🤠🤠🤠🤠🤠🤠🤠🤠🤠🤠🤠🤠🤠🤠🤠🤠🤠🤠🤠🤠🤠🤠🤠🤠🤠🤠🤠🤠🤠🤠🤠🤠🤠— LG Kiwiz (@Kiwiz) September 20, 2019
🤠👍— ƿ૯ωძɿ૯ƿɿ૯ (@pewdiepie) September 22, 2019
This is good— Jacksepticeye (@Jack_Septic_Eye) September 21, 2019
YouTube Changes Verification Policy
YouTubers were first made aware of the now-canceled change with an email shared Thursday, some of which read, “We’re writing to you to let you know that we’re updating the eligibility criteria for channel verification. Unfortunately, with these changes, your channel no longer meets the criteria to be verified.”
Notably, that list includes several prominent YouTubers like LifewithMaK, MacDoesIt, JaackMaate, Strawburry17, and Kiwiz. All of those creators have over one million subscribers, and Kiwiz boasts 2.34 million.
Prior to the announced change, creators only needed to attain 100,000 subscribers on their channel to apply for verification; however, under the new change, which had been expected to be completed by the end of October, creators would also have needed to pass several other requirements.
The first would have ensured the channel belongs “to the real creator, artist, public figure or company it claims to represent.” The second requirement would have applied even more strenuous challenges, such as “representing a well-known or highly-searched for creator, artist, public figure or company.” Additionally, creators would have needed to be “widely recognized outside of YouTube and have a strong presence online.”
Following the announcement, popular YouTubers criticized the move on social media, with many fearing the loss of their verification would translate into fewer views. Without the checkmark, they also feared their content would be demoted in searches. Notably, verified users also receive prioritization at the top of the comment section.
“This HAS to be a bug on YouTube’s end,” Kiwiz said. “I have literally been invited to YouTube creator only events and even have my own YouTube Partner manager. How is getting 15-20 million views a MONTH with over 2 million subscribers NOT fitting the criteria?”
Machiazelli Kahey the creator of MacDoesIt, a channel with around 1.9 million subscribers, criticized the platform after having appeared in a YouTube promotional campaign promoting black artists during Pride month.
“Hi @youtube if you don’t keep my channel verified I would not like you to use my photos as marketing purposes on your socials,” he said in a Thursday Instagram story. “If you want to use me to shape the face of your company you’re gonna have to respect me as a face of your company thank you.”
Several other major creators like James Charles and Jacksepticeye were not in danger of losing their checkmarks, but they still defended other creators on social media.
“Everyone getting unverified on YT today,” Jacksepticeye said. “It’s a slap in the face but try not let it get to you and demotivate you. Keep creating and making cool shit.”
Confusion Over Checkmarks
On the same day as the announcement, many users soon became confused on who would be losing a checkmark and who wouldn’t.
One such example involved Jake Paul, who currently does not have a checkmark. YouTube later clarified, saying Paul lost the checkmark before the announcement when he changed his channel name to a joke name.
People also noticed mega creator PewDiePie, who recently hit 100 million subscribers, lacked a checkmark on mobile; however, PewDiePie has a checkmark on the site’s desktop layout.
YouTube then clarified again, saying, “The checkmark has never appeared on YouTube mobile channel pages (this will be added soon).”
Still, users were left confused after noticing that James Charles apparently has a verification check on mobile.
YouTuber Agrees to Pay Families After One Girl Dies and Another Suffers Major Burns in “Copycat” Experiment
- One Chinese teen died and another Chinese girl suffered severe burns after they tried to replicate a DIY popcorn making experiment that resulted in the explosion of a two-pound bottle of condensed industrial alcohol.
- Because she posted a similar video in March 2017, Chinese YouTuber Ms Yeah was then accused of inspiring the girls to replicate the experiment.
- Ms Yeah denied inspiring the girls, saying they used different videos than her own, but she agreed to compensate both families involved, saying she would help the families “regardless of who was right and who was wrong.”
Ms Yeah’s Popcorn Experiment
Chinese YouTuber Zhou Xiaohui, better known as Ms Yeah, has agreed to compensate two families after they claimed their daughters attempted to copy her viral video, resulting in one dying and the other surviving with severe burns.
Ms Yeah, who boasts nearly 7.5 million followers on YouTube, uses everyday items found in the workplace to cook traditional Chinese dishes and other foods.
The video in question—a feature on making popcorn—was originally posted in March 2017 and has since been deleted, but copies have circulated on YouTube. In addition to that video, Ms Yeah said she will delete any videos she thinks might potentially be dangerous.
In the video, Ms Yeah can be seen cutting a Pepsi can and placing it onto a hot plate, which rests over what appears to be an alcohol burner. She then fills the can with popcorn kernels, salt, and butter and lights the burner with a match.
An Experiment Gone Wrong
While the end result for Ms Yeah was a bowl of popcorn, the families of the two girls say things ended much differently, with several photos of burnt or destroyed cans showing part of the aftermath.
On Aug. 22, the girls were reportedly playing in at a home in the eastern Chinese city of Zaozhuang while their parents were at work. Around 3:30 p.m., the girls discovered the experiment on the Chinese version of TikTok and decided to replicate it.
Their initial attempt reportedly failed, prompting on the girls to pour alcohol directly onto an open flame housed in a tin can, which then exploded.
The spark then reportedly caused a two-pound bucket of nearby condensed industrial alcohol to also explode, leading to the severe injuries.
The survivor—a 12-year-old girl identified as Xiaoyu—will need cosmetic surgery, according to her family. Also according to her father, she has accumulated high hospital bills and refuses to leave her home because of her burns. A picture that circulated on the Chinese social media site Weibo reportedly shows the girl in the hospital with severe burns and casts on her arms and legs.
Her friend—identified as 14-year-old Zhezhe—reportedly suffered burns to 96% of her body, later dying on Sep. 5.
Ms Yeah Compensates Families
Ms Yeah has denied the girls were attempting to replicate her video, in spite of paying compensation and the families’ claims. She claims the girls were using a different method than what was depicted in her video. Other videos showcasing alternative methods for DIY popcorn—similar to accounts given about the girls’ own experiment—do exist on YouTube, some with millions of views.
“I used only one tin can and an alcohol lamp, which is safer,” Ms Yeah said in a Sept. 10 Weibo post. “In [their video] we could clearly see that they used two cans and not a lamp.”
Ms Yeah also said her videos are not to be interpreted as instructional, and according to the BBC, she said she has included “Do not attempt” warnings on her videos since March 2017; however, more recent content of Ms Yeah using alcohol lamps to cook crab and make an espresso notably do not contain any such warnings in their videos.
Ms Yeah’s cousin and representative said the creator would help the families “regardless of who was right and who was wrong.”
It is unknown to what extent Ms Yeah will compensate the families.
Ms Yeah has described learning of the events as “the darkest day of my life” and said she’s felt “immense pain” from the girls’ injuries, further apologizing to her followers and saying she “let everyone down.”
Despite this, she has had to respond to multiple accusations on social media that she is a “murderer.” In her apology post, Ms Yeah asked her followers not to accuse people of murder.
Ms Yeah’s cousin later told media she has been under “immense stress” in recent days and suspects she may be “sinking into depression.”
See what others are saying: (Sixth Tone) (South China Morning Post) (INSIDER)
Instagram Restricts Posts Promoting Diet and Cosmetic Surgery Products
- Instagram is restricting users under the age of 18 from viewing ads promoting weight loss and cosmetic procedures. The platform is also removing posts that make miraculous claims about dieting.
- Actress and body positivity activist Jameela Jamil celebrated the policy change.
- Jamil has criticized celebrities like Kim Kardashian for promoting these types of products in the past, saying it has a negative impact on young followers.
Instagram Changes Policy
Instagram has changed a community guideline policy to prevent its younger users from seeing content that promotes diet and weight-loss products.
Users who are known to the platform to be under the age of 18 will no longer be allowed to view posts for dieting products or cosmetic procedures that include a listed price or incentive to purchase. The site will also remove all posts that make a “miraculous” claim about weight loss and include a coupon code or other commercial elements.
According to Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, this policy became effective when it was announced on Wednesday and will be applied on both Instagram and Facebook.
Promoting these kinds of products has become a major part of influencer culture on the social media site. Prominent celebrities like Kim and Khloe Kardashian, Kylie Jenner and Cardi B have all received backlash for advertising highly-criticized rapid-weight-loss remedies.
Instagram’s Public Policy Manager, Emma Collins, spoke to the Evening Standard about how this policy change will affect these big names.
“If [a Kardashian’s] Instagram post is pulled into the policy of promoting diet products or procedures for sale it will be removed,” she said. “The Kardashians are people we continue to have collaborative conversations with, they’ll be made aware of the change.”
Collins also released a statement addressing the larger reasons behind the change, saying Instagram wants their site to be a “positive place.”
“We want Instagram to be a positive place for everyone that uses it and this policy is part of our ongoing work to reduce the pressure that people can sometimes feel as a result of social media,” she said.
Some Twitter users have shared that they have already been blocked from old posts by Kim Kardashian due to the new age barrier. Instagram is also encouraging users to report content they feel violates the new policy, and says they will be adding new reporting tools specifically for this matter.
Wow that was fast. This Kim Kardashian flat tummy shake post from January is now only accessible if you’re logged into Instagram and listed as over-18. pic.twitter.com/67rEv4uqpJ— Ryan Broderick (@broderick) September 18, 2019
Jameela Jamil Responds
The decision was applauded by many, including actress and body positivity activist Jameela Jamil. Jamil has led the social media charge against these weight-loss tactics by frequently calling out stars like the Kardashians for promoting them to their younger fans. Jamil has spilled the skinny tea on what some of the products might actually do to your body, including cause sicknesses like diarrhea. She started the social media campaign “I Weigh” in 2018 to promote body positivity and inclusivity on Instagram.
Jamil called Instagram’s new policy “huge news” in a post celebrating the matter.
“@i_weigh are changing the world together,” she wrote. “After a bunch of shouting, screaming, and petitioning… we have managed to get the attention of the people at the top, and they have heard us and want to protect us. And this is just the beginning of our efforts.”
The Good Place star went on to say that she had been working with people at Instagram all year to accomplish this and praised them for the passion.
//www.instagram.com/embed.jsView this post on Instagram
THIS IS HUGE NEWS. @i_weigh are changing the world together. After a bunch of shouting, screaming, and petitioning… we have managed to get the attention of the people at the top, and they have heard us and want to protect us. And this is just the beginning of our efforts. As of now, if you’re under 18, you will no longer be exposed to any diet/detox products, and for all other ages; all fad products that have bogus, unrealistic claims will be taken down and easy to report. I’ve been working with Instagram all year towards this, who were amazing to deal with, and they expressed that they passionately care about creating a safer space for us all online. This happened so much faster than I expected and I’m so proud and happy and relieved. WELL DONE to the many people who have been working towards this huge change. This is a mass effort. This is an extraordinary win that is going to make a big difference. Influencers have to be more responsible. ❤️
“This happened so much faster than I expected and I’m so proud and happy and relieved,” Jamil added. “WELL DONE to the many people who have been working towards this huge change. This is a mass effort. This is an extraordinary win that is going to make a big difference. Influencers have to be more responsible.”
On Twitter, Jamil also implied that with this victory in hand, she is going to continue fighting.