Only In Indonesia: Foreign Influencers Face Deportation Over Face Mask ‘Prank’
|Indonesian immigration authorities have now seized the passport of the two pranksters. Photo: The Indian Express|
A pair of Instagram influencers could be deported from Bali over an irresponsible stunt that has been labelled "deliberately provoking".
A video uploaded to social media showed the Russian female wearing face paint instead of a face mask inside a Balinese supermarket.
Her boyfriend, from Taiwan, wore a real face mask, but laughed while filming his partner making her way through the aisles, even stopping at one point to chat with a local.
The original post, which has been removed, led to widespread uproar online, drawing the attention of the Indonesian government which has since seized both of their passports, local news site Coconuts reported.
Content creator Josh Paler Lin showed himself and his girlfriend, Leia Se (Lisha), trying to enter a local supermarket before a security guard turned them down because she was not wearing a mask. Instead of getting a real face cover, they returned to their car, where Lin used makeup to paint the appearance of a blue surgical mask onto Se’s face!
|As the pandemic continues to rage globally, masks are still an essential tool for slowing the virus' spread. HORACIO VILLALOBOS/GETTY IMAGES|
The duo was allowed inside as the end product did look somewhat like a real mask, complete with white straps, as long as Se didn’t open her mouth.
“Did you notice like no one’s actually looking at you?” Lin is heard in the video. “Exactly, because it looks real,” the woman replied.
“No one noticed! Even the security. I can’t believe this works,” Lin continued bragging about the stunt while the woman laughed.
Although the video was deleted by the influencers on their respective social media handles, it went viral across platforms when locals started calls to deport them. While the woman has been identified as a Russian national, the man in the clip is a Taiwanese national.
The video created a huge uproar online after Niluh Djelantik, a Balinese designer and politician, posted it on Instagram calling out the duo for their brazen prank. “These two people don’t have empathy, in fact making Covid-19 a joke,” slammed Djelantik. “Don’t let them step on Bali’s dignity,” Djelantik added, tagging the immigration office to take strict action against them.
According to Coconut Bali, the passports of the two foreigners were seized by Indonesian immigration authorities. A spokesman from the regional office for the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, confirmed the passport seizure Tuesday, adding that a decision on deportation would be finalised after Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) officers question the influencers.
While the influencers' fates are still unclear, they seem to have gained clarity regarding the severity of their actions. In a video posted to Instagram on Friday, Lin and Se are filmed formally apologizing for their actions alongside an attorney.
"We want to apologize for the video that we made," says Se.
Lin continues, saying that the video was never intended to "disrespect" or "invite" people to disregard mask guidelines. "I made this video to entertain people because I'm a content creator, and it is my job to entertain people," he said. "However, I did not realize that what I did could actually bring a lot of negative comments...and...raise a lot of concerns."
Lin and Se say they "promise not to do it again."
Hoping to clarify their intentions, Lin adds, "I would like to invite everyone in Indonesia and Bali to always wear [a] mask for our own safety and health."
Stunt sparks outrage online
|The pair have drawn widespread criticism over the stunt which could see them booted from the island. Source: Instagram|
Hundreds left critical comments when their latest video was reposted by an account on Instagram, labelling the couple "lazy" and disrespectful.
"More and more people are lazy to work on their brains just rely on funny videos so they get people's attention and earn money," one comment read.
"[I'm] afraid that she is the one who transmits Covid to everyone," another wrote.
Bali's Civil Service Police Unit, Satpol PP, officers were to question the duo about the stunt earlier this week, spokesperson for the Ministry of Law and Human Rights I Putu Surya Dharma said.
"After that they will be examined together with Immigration to take the decision on whether or not to deport them,” she said.
The head of Satpol PP Bali would also be recommending to the immigration department that the foreigners be deported because their actions violated propriety, according to the publication.
“They are not only violating, but deliberately provoking in public, so it’s only proper to sanction them more severely, not just with a fine but also deportation,” he said.
Foreign nationals can face a penalty of IDR1 million (A$90) if they are caught not wearing a mask once, with further breaches making them eligible for deportation.
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