Privilege and a Pandemic

Maintaining (and in some cases enhancing) the image and reputation of people, persons and things in the midst of the global pandemic is fundamental to those of us in PR. But the tone deaf continue to pop up as often as new outbreaks of the dreaded virus itself.

Check out Peppercommer Courtney Tolbert’s take on the self-inflicted reputational damage caused by the so-called COVIDiot…

And let us know if you think the tone deaf influencer will ever again regain her followers’ trust.

Many have come to view the current covid-19 virus as a great equalizer. While the virus may not discriminate, the subsequent pandemic has served to expose the vast differences between the haves and have nots.

Instagram: @ariellecharnas

Many of the privileged elite have taken this time to donate to a variety of causes to help in the efforts towards surviving this crisis, yet some in the public eye have chosen this time to lean into their privilege and are met with significant public criticism. Influencer Arielle Charnas (now dubbed the ‘covidiot’) recently became a poster child for exactly what not to do if you are a public figure during this time.

Charnas, a fashion/lifestyle blogger has always lived an opulent lifestyle. Her 1.3M Instagram followers love to see her posts that often include glimpses into her decadent life. However, her actions dealing with the coronavirus were not met with the usual acceptance and have instilled a lot of anger not only in her fanbase, but in the general public.

CliffsNotes version of Charnas’ actions that people take most issue with are first, while exhibiting no symptoms, and using the connection of a personal friend who’s a doctor, Charnas got tested for coronavirus. After testing positive, she proceeded to document her exodus from New York City to the Hamptons (after not waiting the recommended amount of time before traveling again). Additionally, she kept her children’s nannies with the family the entire time. Yikes.

Every rule Charnas skirted was a direct result of her privilege, in a time fueled mostly by fear and confusion people do not want to see this blatant lack of regard for the rules waved in their faces.

The point of this is not to tear Charnas down. I’m sure, like everyone else, she’s incredibly scared during this time. The point is that in times of crisis, the haves need to use their privilege to lift up the have nots. Now is the time we all need to be pooling resources and coming together – while, of course, remaining at least six feet apart.

It’s clear that Charnas has done significant damage to her brand here. In your opinion is she beyond forgiveness? What next steps would you like to see her take to rehab her image?


2 thoughts on “Privilege and a Pandemic

  1. Very well written piece.
    Even before her obvious terrible choices during this pandemic I believed she portrayed a poor image to today’s “have nots”. Clearly Arielle Charnas has à eating disorder. The pictures of her in a bathing suit are simply terrifying. That’s all I can say. I’m not sure how her brand ever achieved the success it did.

  2. Her image is beyond repair. Her “crying” apology was ridiculous. She needs to find a new career…