Social media influencers are becoming more and more common. Basically, they get paid money to sponsor products and promote them to their followers. I'm sure it's a bit more complicated than that, but that's the gist. However, Tiffany Mitchell, a lifestyle blogger in Nashville, is now facing backlash because of one of her sponsored posts...because she posted it right after being in a motorcycle accident.
Mitchell originally posted about her accident near the end of July, saying it had left her shaken but luckily with only minor scrapes. The issue, though, was that it looked like she had taken a professional photoshoot at the scene of the crash and even had a bottle of Smart Water strategically placed to look like an ad. The post has since been deleted, but here are some of the pictures and excerpts from her caption.
This is me and my bike about an hour before I got in an accident. If you watched my stories Sunday you know all about it, but if you didn't, here's the scary, magical series of events. A few of us rode down to Liepers Fork Saturday to explore and take pictures. My sweet friend Lindsey was shooting and my OTHER sweet friend Martyn was riding while a friend of Lindsey's drove the jeep.
We played around for a couple of hours before heading back up to Nashville around 7:30 on a secluded two lane stretch, I misjudged a curve, took it too fast and my bike went off the road. It slid through the grass and I hit the pavement. I had my helmet on so my head was fine, but I scraped up my left side. I was in absolute shock laying on the side of the road. Scroll through the pics to see how much of it Lindsey captured. Unreal!
I was scared, and relieved, and so thankful I could move all my joint and that I never lost consciousness. 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. Losing someone in a moto accident makes something like this that much sharper.
The next day I could barely move I was so sore, and I texted my mom (who raised me on the back of HER motorcycle) to tell her what happened...She asked if I would ever ride again, I said yes...Then she said it all, "Life is a gift and an adventure."
After the post, people began to question the authenticity of it all.
“This must have been super scary and I’m glad you’re okay, but... if my friend continued to take photos while I was lying semi-unconscious in the road, I’d be furious. I love your photos but it’s a little weird to include those,” one wrote.
“How are people commenting on this like it’s normal?” another wrote.
"These are obviously staged," another said. "Her bike is sitting upright. Her helmet is a different color. The Smart Water product placement. The complete look of unconcern on the man next to her.... Lmao"
However, Mitchell says that everything she said was true, and that she's upset people are accusing her of otherwise.
“I would never turn a very important personal story like this into a brand campaign,” she told Buzzfeed, adding that “the water was given to me while I was resting. All motives for taking the photos and sharing them along with the details of the experience were good. I’m really sad that raising this topic without all the context may inspire negativity and hatred, but I did my best and hope whatever happens can add to people’s lives in some way.”
She also addressed the controversy on her Instagram story.
“There were a lot of things that people seemed concerned about, the motives and the reality of what happened,” she began. “I archived the post so you can’t see it on my feed anymore, because it was starting to get a little bit out of control … I just wanted to address those concerns because it’s very important to me; I don’t want anyone to be confused about any of it. No photos were taken until everyone knew that I was okay and I was resting … I was laying there processing everything and I didn’t know Lindsey was taking photos.”
Mitchell also explained that she lost her partner in a motorcycle accident three years ago, so the severity of crashes isn't lost on her.
“The reason this accident was so intense and important to me, and why I’m so grateful that my friend captured photos, is because three years ago on May 16, 2016, my partner Kappel passed away in a motorcycle accident," she told People. “I spent the majority of 2016-2017 walking through intense grief and sharing that journey through photos and captions on my Instagram page. It’s something the people who follow me understand the beauty and depth of, and when this happened and I ended up having photos to share, I wrote about the experience genuinely.”
I can understand that this is something close to her, and she may have taken a tumble, but if the accident was as bad as she says, then you'd think she'd have at least some more serious cuts and scrapes.