- Social media influencer Tiffany Mitchell is catching heat for posting photos to Instagram that show her having seemingly fallen off of a motorcycle after misjudging a curve.
- Many are accusing her of staging the accident for a photo-op and are saying the photos were sponsored because one of them prominently displays a Smartwater bottle.
- Mitchell has denied both claims and said she didn’t know her friend was taking the photos but added that she was happy the fallout of her accident was documented.
The Post of the Crash
A social media influencer is denying claims that she faked a motorcycle crash and used it as an opportunity to take photos for Instagram.
In late July, Tiffany Mitchell posted a series of photos from her crash which she says happened in Leipers Fork just outside of Nashville. The post quickly drew the ire of many who accused it of looking too perfect.
In the post, Mitchell described the accident as a “scary, magical series of events.” She explained she misjudged a curve, hitting the pavement as her bike slid into the grass. She also said she had been wearing a helmet.
“I was scared, and relieved, and so thankful I could move all my joints and that I never lost consciousness,” Mitchell wrote. “My friends were at my side immediately, an ambulance arrived within 10 minutes (CRAZY fast), and sweet strangers loaded my bike onto their trailer to haul it back to my house for me. I was in a haze the entire time.”
One of the photos shows a man tending to her, a helmet placed on the side of the road, and another motorcycle propped up in the background just out of focus.
Another photo shows minor scrapes over the tattoo on her shoulder as that same man holds onto her.
In another, critics point to a prominently displayed bottle of Smartwater, which many suggested may have been part of a sponsorship.
Many people flooded Mitchell’s personal Instagram and other social media platforms like Reddit to speculate about the authenticity of the photos.
“They’re lit like a paperback romance cover, and the water just appears between shots with the label in crystal-clear focus,” one Reddit user wrote. “What, did her friend sneak over and pose the bottle then scamper back out of frame? NO oil on the ground. NO damaged tire. Give me an effing break.”
Why her helmet in the first picture doesn’t look like any of the helmets from the accident pictures ?— Laetitia (@lerandombadger) August 19, 2019
Trying to count how many parts of this story are lies is like trying to guess how many gumballs are in the giant jar at the carnival. No-one TRULY knows, but we all know it is ALOT.— King Codez (@CodezKing) August 20, 2019
Others called her out for seemingly glamorizing her accident.
“We had a very close family friend die in a motorcycle accident,” a Reddit user wrote. “A lot of people have. This is fucking gross. The fact that it’s clearly fake makes it grosser, because they had to come up with it, execute it, then post it. So many opportunities to not make a terrible decision.”
In her post, Mitchell also mentioned losing her boyfriend in a motorcycle accident three years ago.
“It brought back a lot of memories from 3 years ago when Kappel died,” she wrote, “and I in utter devastation had to decide how to move through it all, and whether it was worth it to ever get on a bike again.”
Nonetheless, many online criticized her for what they said was making light of the type of accident that killed her boyfriend.
“What the fuck?!?!?!!!!! Her bf dies in a motorcycle accident but apparently when she has an accident (if she really did) it’s an opportunity to take pics and get sponsored?!” another Redditor posted. “NOT EVERYTHING IN LIFE IS A PHOTO OPP Jesus Christ.”
Mitchell Responds to Backlash
Following the backlash, Mitchell then archived her post. The move also came after Buzzfeed News reached out to her for comment. She reportedly asked Buzzfeed not to run the story because it would “draw negative attention,” but it ultimately ran the story anyway.
Monday, Mitchell posted an Instagram story talking about the article and the negative reaction she’s seen since it was published.
“I’m really sad that what I shared inspired anything negative at all,” she said. “You know, I was really, really touched by those moments that happened.”
She continued, saying she didn’t know her friend had been taking pictures after she crashed. She also said her friend had not started taking photos until after checking to make sure Mitchell was okay.
Later, when Mitchell’s friend showed her the photos, Mitchell said she wasn’t mad they had been taken.
“She would have never done anything with those photos before showing me,” Mitchell said, “and when she showed me, I was so grateful for them. You know, she didn’t know. Maybe, I would have been offended. ‘How could you take—’ That’s not how I felt. When she showed me the photos, I was genuinely grateful because having a moment that was that intense documented, I appreciate that.”
Regarding the Smartwater bottle controversy, she said her post was not sponsored and someone had actually just brought it to her. Smartwater has not made any public comments on the matter.
Mitchell said she was shocked and had a lot of emotions running through her mind, but ultimately, said she wanted to share the moment.
“I archived the post because if there is a lot of attention brought to my feed because of that, I don’t want to leave that really vulnerable thing that I care a lot about that I shared open to any kind of hatred,” she said. “You know, I want to protect that. I want to protect that moment.”
See what others are saying: (INSIDER) (Independent) (Cosmopolitan)
Twitch Pulls Black Lives Matter Video Featuring Mostly White Streamers
- On Thursday, Twitch deleted and apologized for a Black Lives Matter compilation video that showcased a number of white streamers supporting the movement but featured very few Black creators.
- In fact, the nearly one-minute video only had one line from Black creator known as Zombaekillz, and Twitch overlaid audio of DrLupo—a white creator—on top of a clip of footage from another Black streamer, BlissKai.
- A number of the streamers featured in the video have now spoken out about the criticism, with some agreeing and others disagreeing.
- This video follows backslash Twitch faced earlier in the week for an LGBTQIA+ tweet that said the G “also stands for gamer.”
Twitch’s Mostly White “Black Lives Matter” Video
Twitch has deleted a controversial complication video it posted on Thursday that was meant to display solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement; however, the video was quickly criticized as tone-deaf for featuring mostly-white creators.
The video was originally posted to Twitter with the caption “Working together to make an impact for Black lives,” according to the gaming outlet Polygon.
While that video showcases a number of white creators advocating for racial justice— including DrLupo, Jacksepticeye, CrankGameplays, AshleyRoboto, and Charalanahzard—it only features one line from a Black streamer, Zombaekillz.
“Black people don’t have the same right, and we don’t have the same power that people around us have here,” Zombaekillz said in the video, a quite ironic statement given Twitch’s inclusion of it around only white voices.
Other Black creators such as BlissKai were featured but had no lines. In fact, in the video, a clip of her is even overlaid with audio from DrLupo. In all, Black streamers only accounted for 11-seconds of the nearly minute-long video.
While the video also opens with a clip of a Black man speaking while at a protest, he is not a known streamer on the platform.
Reaction and Apology
Much of the video includes streamers raising money for various Black Lives Matter-related charities. Shortly after Twitch posted it, the video was met with swift condemnation from Black streamers and BLM allies.
One Black creator, Tanya DePass, blasted the platform and accused it of silencing Black voices.
“This is a whole bucket of fail,” DePass said. “There’s a WHOLE LOT of Black Creators on here who not only speak out on this ALL THE TIME, but don’t get any credit for it. Y’all are speaking over us. Highlight Black folks doing the work already.”
Notably, some also pointed out that DePass would have been a prime candidate for the video, as she raised over $140,000 during a 10-hour Animal Crossing live stream on the platform last month. Her original goal had been $500.
On Thursday, the same day the initial video was posted, Twitch removed it and issued an apology.
“We hear you,” the platform said. “Our goal was to demonstrate the importance of allyship—a message we didn’t make clear. Only by working together can we create a positive change.”
Creators in the Video Speak Out
A number of creators featured in the video have spoken out since Twitch deleted that video and apologized, including BlissKai and Zombaekillz.
“It sucks that Twitch deleted the tweet but it had to happen,” BlissKai said. “I want to see black gamers succeed & make a difference as well. My first ever huge thing from Twitch & I’m glad I even got a opportunity to see myself up there. Disappointed but Twitch just delivered the wrong it the way.”
Meanwhile, Zombaekillz commended the video for using lesser-known Black streamers, adding, “it also celebrated the actual and very real allyship of some creators during this time. AND AND… white people listen to white people.“
While she noted that the video could have featured more Black voices, she said, “this is about incremental changes. Dismantling supremacy doesn’t happen immediately.”
“The reality is this video was about working together to uplift voices and showcasing people who are,” she continued. “People have missed the point.”
“Also, while you’re here and SO outraged over the lack of diverse voices.. make sure to go to my channel and support this very diverse voice. Put some of these words to ACTION…”
Also on Twitter, Charalanahzard said she had no knowledge of Twitch even using a clip from one of her streams until after Twitch posted its video.
“Well, I had no idea this happened until just now, but want to be clear: I had absolutely no idea @Twitch was going to use a clip of me in the #BLM video they took down and am not cool with it at all,” she said. “I guess they own all content on their platform, but I’m shocked I wasn’t asked.”
Twitch Had to Revise a LGBTQIA+ Tweet, Too
Thursday’s video is not the first social media controversy of the week for Twitch. In fact, on Sunday, it posted a video that was meant to show support for queer rights that was partially captioned, “When the G in LGBTQIA+ also stands for Gamer.”
“I don’t in any way shape or form want to take away from the amazing humans in this video, the clips are wonderful,” creator Spofie said. “But can we remove this part?”
Wow! It’s already hard enough to teach people what it stands for. Twitch come on, do better. Are there no LGBTQIA+ on their Social team? How is that possible?— ✨ Charice Gomez (@ChariceArzellG) July 5, 2020
While the platform deleted the original video and quickly posted another without the controversial slogan, it did not publicly address its misstep.
The US is “Looking at” a Potential TikTok Ban, Pompeo Says as the Company Pulls Out of Hong Kong
- Early Monday, TikTok announced that it would be leaving the Hong Kong market over fears regarding China’s new national security law, which would require the company to hand over user data.
- Later in the day, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News that the U.S. is “looking at” banning Chinese social media apps, including TikTok.
- The Chinese-owned app has long been accused of giving data to the Chinese Communist Party, which it has repeatedly denied.
- If put in place, an American ban would just be the latest national-restriction against TikTok. India banned the app on July 1 over similar fears that it gave away user data to Chinese authorities.
Could TikTok Face an American Ban?
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News Monday night that the United States was “looking at” banning Chinese social media apps, including the popular video-sharing app TikTok.
When speaking to host Laura Ingraham about potential plans to restrict the app, Pompeo said, “We’re taking this very seriously, but we’re certainly looking at it. We’ve worked on this very issue for a long time.”
“With respect to Chinese apps on people’s cellphones, I can assure you the United States will get this one right too,” he added.
Despite his claims, there haven’t been any concrete efforts made public yet. Still, when asked if he’d recommend for people to download TikTok, the Secretary of State replied, “Only if you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.”
TikTok has adamantly claimed that despite its parent company ByteDance being based in China, TikTok itself isn’t controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, nor does it have deep ties with the party.
The app claims that the executives and managers who actually make decisions about its business and make its content rules are all outside of China. The company also states that Chinese authorities have no say in what is and isn’t allowed on the app, and lastly, that user data isn’t stored in China.
American authorities doubt these claims, as the company is owned by ByteDance, which is based in China and like most large Chinese companies, is thought to have close ties to the ruling Communist Party. Adding to the fuel that TikTok complies with Chinese authorities is the fact that ByteDance also owns its sister company, Douyin, which is essentially a Chinese version of TikTok.
A U.S. ban would be a massive loss for the company, which is home to some of its biggest creators. The app has also faced hurdles in India, where a ban went into effect on July 1 that blocked TikTok and 58 other Chinese apps. The nation of over 1 billion is among its largest markets.
Australia has also floated the idea of banning the platform over concerns it inappropriately shares data with the Chinese government.
Pulling Out of Hong Kong
Aside from promising that it isn’t controlled by Chinese authorities, TikTok has also made recent moves to distance itself from the country. Hours before Pompeo spoke to Fox News, TikTok announced that it would be pulling out of the Hong Kong market over fears about a sweeping national security law imposed on the city by China on June 29.
According to TikTok, the app would be inoperable within Hong Kong in a few days. Additionally, it wouldn’t process data requests from China or Hong Kong police, although some current residents already say they can’t download the app.
Hong Kong authorities used the new national security law to release strict new rules regarding online posts. If police suspect an “electronic message” endangers “national security,” they can ask the publisher, platform, host, or network provider to remove or restrict access to it. Those who publish messages and don’t comply face a $100,000 fine and upwards of six months in jail.
Users who actually make the posts face a similar fine and up to a year in jail.
According to multiple reports, the rules explicitly allow authorities to jail employees at internet companies that don’t reply, regardless if they’re based in Hong Kong or not. It should be noted that punishment would only be applicable if one was to actually travel to Hong Kong or China, as most nations wouldn’t comply with another country claiming extraterritorial authority.
However, it still puts companies in an awkward position; comply with Chinese authorities and face backlash for caving on free speech, or disregard the rules and potentially risk employee safety and losing market access.
It wasn’t just TikTok that responded to the new rules, other tech giants like Facebook, Google, and Twitter all said they would temporarily halt data requests from Hong Kong authorities as they decide what to do in the long run. All three had spokespeople and statements that were remarkably similar.
A Facebook spokesperson told Reuters, “We are pausing the review of government requests for user data from Hong Kong pending further assessment of the National Security Law, including formal human rights due diligence and consultations with international human rights experts.”
“We believe freedom of expression is a fundamental human right and support the right of people to express themselves without fear for their safety or other repercussions,” the statement continued.
Even though at face value it may seem like a hollow gesture, considering the fact that these companies are banned in China, it’s actually a big risk to a massive revenue stream. All three of those companies have major advertiser programs in China.
While they debate whether to comply with the law or not, it’s interesting to note that TikTok went further than the rest by actually pulling services out of the city. That might be because Hong Kong wasn’t a huge market for the company.
It consistently lost them money and only about 150,000 Hong Kongers used the app. Another facet that may limit the impact of “losing” Hong Kong is that TikTok’s sister app, Douyin, is still usable and popular in Hong Kong, despite not officially being available in the city.
See what others are saying: (Wall Street Journal) (The New York Times) (CNN)
“The Rock” Surpasses Kylie Jenner as Highest-Paid Star on Instagram
- After coming in at No. 6 last year, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has now skyrocketed to the top of Hopper HQ’s Instagram Rich List, with it estimating that he earns $1,015,00 per sponsored post.
- Kylie Jenner, who he dethroned, now sits at No. 2, charging $986,000 per post.
- Kim Kardashian West ranked No. 4 with $858,000, just a day after it was revealed that she sold 20% of KKW Beauty to Coty Inc. The deal values KKW Beauty at $1 billion and makes her net worth around $900 million.
- TikTok stars Charlie D’Amelio and Addison Rae also captured attention for making it into the top 10 highest paid per post in the Lifestyle category, after rising to fame in under a year.
Instagram’s Highest-Paid Users Revealed
Kylie Jenner was officially dethroned by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as the highest-paid person on Instagram, according to Hopper HQ’s fourth annual “Instagram Rich List.”
Hopper HQ, the social media planning tool behind the list, announced its new rankings Tuesday, which estimates how much high profile figures charge per sponsored post. According to the company, it uses “publically and privately available data to create the most accurate list possible.”
Last year, Jenner topped the company’s list, with it estimating that she earned $1,266,000 per sponsored post. At the time, Johnson took the No. 6 spot, raking in about $882,000 for each of his.
Since then, Johnson’s Instagram earning have jumped by 15%, helping him snatch the No. 1 slot with an estimated $1,015,00 per sponsored post. Jenner on the other hand, dropped by 22%, earning her the No. 2 title with $986,000 each.
Jenner’s new ranking comes just a month after Forbes stripped her of her billionaire title when it accused her of exaggerating her cosmetic company’s earning. At the time, Jenner called the claims “inaccurate” and “unproven,” while her representatives said that neither she nor anyone from her team falsified tax returns or lied to claim the title.
But even without the billionaire status, Jenner is still insanely wealthy. Forbes estimated her net worth at $900 million and just a few days after publishing its exposé, it ranked her as the highest-paid celebrity with an estimated $590 million in earnings over the last year.
As far as the “Instagram Rich List” goes, celebrities that follow Jenner include Cristiano Ronaldo, Kim Kardashian West, Ariana Grande, Selena Gomez, Beyonce Knowles, Justin Bieber, and Taylor Swift, to name a few.
Is Kim Kardashian a Billionaire?
Kardashian West is another standout with her No. 4 ranking, charging an estimated $858,000 per post. That’s because the ranking comes just a day after reports that she sold a stake in her cosmetic brand, KKW Beauty, to Coty Inc for $200 million.
Last year, her youngest sister made headlines for striking a huge deal with the beauty brand, selling 51% of Kylie Cosmetics for $600 million in a deal that valued the company at $1.2 billion.
But Kardashian West’s deal is a bit different. She only sold off a 20% stake in her business, leaving her with 72% and her mother, Kris Jenner, with 8%. According to Coty, she will remain responsible for creative efforts while Coty will focus on expanding product development outside the realm of color cosmetics.
Following the news, Kanye West congratulated his wife for “officially becoming a billionaire” with a bizarre photo of what appeared to be vegetables and flowers.
However, as Forbes pointed out, this deal actually makes her net worth about $900 million and values KKW Beauty at $1 billion.
Other Standouts on the 2020 Instagram Rich List
Aside from “The Rock” and the Kardashian-Jenner rankings, there were some other notable standouts on Hopper HQ’s list.
In the beauty category, Huda Kattan of Huda Beauty made the top of the list with an estimated $91,800 per post. Far behind at No. 2 and 3 were beauty influencers James Charles and Jeffree Star, who charge an estimated $38,400 and $32,700 per sponsored post, respectively.
In fashion, model Bella Hadid ranked No.1 with an estimated $91,900 per post, with Emily Ratajkowski following at No. 2 with $78,300.
In sports, Cristiano Ronaldo maintained his top spot with $889,000 per paid post, followed by other huge names in soccer like Neymar Jr., Lionel Messi, and David Beckham. NBA star Lebron James ranked No. 5 with an estimated $307,000 for each of his.
But perhaps some of the most interesting numbers came from the Lifestyle category, which gave insight into the potential earnings of some popular influencers.
Lele Pons ended up at the top of the list with an estimated $142,80 per sponsored post. She was followed by Sommer Ray, Zach King, and Cameron Dallas.
Others who made the top ten that probably won’t come as a surprise are longtime YouTuber Felix Kjellberg, also known as Pewdiepie, who came in at No. 5 with $72,500 and Viner turned YouTuber David Dobrik who ranked No. 7 with an estimated $69,900 per sponsored post.
But some newcomers to the digital space that broke the top ten in this category are TikTokers 16-year-old Charli D’Amelio and 19-year-old Addison Rae Easterling. D’Amelio actually ranked above Dobrik at No. 6 with an estimated $71,200 per post. Easterling ranked just below him at No. 8 with $69,600 each.
The Paul brothers then finish up the top ten with Logan at No. 9 and Jake at No. 10. However, the success of the two TikTok stars is arguably the most impressive considering how quickly they’ve exploded to popularity and expanded onto other sites.
Easterling, for instance, only joined TikTok in July 2019 and is the second most followed person on the app with 48.2 million followers. Meanwhile, D’Amilio is the most followed person on the app with 66.9 million followers, and she joined in June of 2019.
See what others are saying: (Forbes) (LAD Bible) (Yahoo Lifestyle)
Correction: This story has been updated with the correct spelling of Cristiano Ronaldo’s name.