Influencer stirs backlash with 'tone deaf' photos during California wildfires: 'Grim on so many levels'

Morgan Greenwald
·3 mins read

A fashion blogger and influencer is facing backlash online after taking part in a photo shoot on a California beach while the state is engulfed in a raging wildfire.

Influencer Colette LeClair, who has more than 30,000 followers on Instagram, decided to bid adieu to San Francisco before she moved down to Los Angeles with a series of photos at the beach. In the photos, she wears a bright orange tulle dress, which matches the dystopian sky tinted orange by forest fires raging across the Pacific Northwest.

“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 initially captioned the photos. “Currently gathering a lot of clothes to donate — yay! This one will not make it with me to L.A., but there is someone here who will adore it.”

LeClair’s images became a talking point on Twitter after author Caroline Moss took to the platform to condemn the influencer’s decision to exploit a destructive and deadly forest fire.

“We live in hell,” Moss captioned a screenshot of the post in a now-deleted tweet. “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.”

Many Twitter users agreed with Moss’ criticism of the “creepy” photo shoot.

“Grim on so many levels,” one person said about the photos.

“It’s not really clear to me why her method of ‘making a living’ has to be posing in the midst of a massive ecological disaster,” another user added, noting that the photos are “tone deaf.”

“Using an ecological tragedy as a prop for your self promotion is the epitome of vulgarity,” a third person noted.

In light of the backlash, LeClair has turned off the comments on her Instagram post and updated the caption on her photos to note that she thinks what’s happening right now in California is “devastating.”

“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,” she said. “There have been fires going on for weeks in California. It is devastating. Prayers for people dealing with the fires. SENDING YOU ALL LOVE.”

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