'It Hurts Me': Aussie Instagram Influencer Viciously Attacked Over White Doona Cover
Those who follow Tasmanian based lifestyle influencer Claire on Instagram -- widely known as The Kmart Lover -- will know she's both honest and infectiously positive.
Having amassed over 100,000 followers on Instagram who are fans of her home styling advice, fashion tips and of course, a shared love of all things Kmart, the lifestyle influencer generally starts her day with a coffee and a smile.
But for Claire, Saturday morning was different.
After posting about a white waffle quilt cover she'd picked up from Kmart days prior, along with part of her caption reading 'white is right' -- referring to her love for a clean and crisp bed -- she was viciously attacked.
Claire received messages calling her 'racist' and a 'white supremacist' for her words, causing her to amend the caption on her unassuming post.
"Can you beat a white quilt cover for a relaxing entrance to a bedroom? I love it!" she wrote in the updated caption along with her photo.
Claire addressed the attack with her followers on her Instagram story on Friday night, but later decided to delete the messages that had referred to the onslaught of negative messages she received.
Yet on Saturday morning, she spoke about the trolling incident again after her twin sister Krista shared some 'beautiful words' with her and reminded her why it was an important issue to acknowledge.
"I wasn't going to address this again because I deleted a couple of stories that I put up last night but my sister has now tagged me in some beautiful words so I will address it," she said.
"As you can probably tell, I'm sad, but that's not from the thing that happened last night. It's from Krista's beautiful words an the outpouring of love and support that you guys have given me."
Claire added through tears that she had a "f**king bad headache" -- the third in a week-- which she attributed to the stress that had come from her Instagram account.
"I'm not racist. I was purely talking about a bloody doona cover and it does hurt. It hurts me. I put in time to this page. It's my page," she added.
"I don't get paid to tell you where an item is from. I don't get paid to give you a swipe up link. I don't get paid to show you what it would match with and so many of you ask things like that and I give you my view on it."
Following her honest message to her followers about the online attack, Claire shared a message to her Instagram timeline along with a photo of her sitting on the white doona cover that caused the wave of negativity.
"This is me. Just a girl on a bed in what she considers a cool outfit sharing her love for home styling and fashion. Unshowered, heavy eyes from a bad headache, no make-up. Nothing more, nothing less," she wrote.
"This week I have been trolled for having too many hats and contributing to landfill. This week I have been trolled as being racist for saying ‘white is right’ about the depicted doona cover."
This week I have been trolled for having too many clothes and that I should donated more, that I am wasteful, not thoughtful and that I should influence people in a far better way.
Claire said while she could have stayed quiet about these attacks and not responded to the upsetting remarks, that it is not like her to ignore the bullying that sometimes happens on Instagram.
"I am strong. I am independent and I am taking a stance against this small minority of society that feel this behaviour is OK because it is not," she said.
"I am using my voice for those that do not feel strong enough to have a voice. I am using my voice so that hopefully this changes the mindset of one person out there that has thought about writing something negative in any online forum."
I am using my voice so that hopefully one less person becomes a victim to self-harm and/or suicide due to online trolling. This behaviour is not OK, it is not tolerated and it is time for it to stop.
Claire added that fellow Instagram influencer and friends of hers, Emmylou Maccarthy, who runs the page Emmylou Loves, was also attacked in the same week and "had to seek external help as a result."
"She is one of many inspirers in this online space that has been targeted with negativity for no reason. Whilst this behaviour is a reflection of the authors and not the inspirers, it can be largely damaging, hurtful and is purely unkind," Claire continued.
Claire encouraged her followers to support her collaboration Small Print Designers, who she co-designed a t-shirt with that reads 'just be kind'. $5 from every t-shirt is being donated to Bully Zero, an organisation which educates schools and workplaces on the harmful effects of bullying.
"So far together we have donated more than $5,000 to this charity. Please help me spread this message by purchasing and wearing this tee with pride," she wrote, encouraging her audience to use the hashtags #justbekind and #TKLinstasafespace.
"Please lets make Instagram a safe space for people to come to. You never know how full someone’s cup is, so please, just be kind," Claire concluded.
Speaking to 10 daily, Claire said: "If you do not like it, then simply unfollow and use your time in another manner. Obviously a message of mine is Just Be Kind. A little kindness goes a long way."
"Another I use is Scroll Not Troll. If you see something you don't like, instead of leaving a negative comment, just scroll on by! Life is too short, don't sweat the small stuff. Live hard, love harder," she added.
Featured image: Instagram