Reality TV star and model Kendall Jenner took to Instagram to weigh in on the coronavirus, or COVID-19, over the weekend, and not everyone has appreciated her input.
The 24-year-old model, who boasts over 18 million followers on Instagram alone, shared a series of infographics on coronavirus from a website called Information is Beautiful, which suggested that most cases of coronavirus are mild and the majority of patients recover.
However, Kendall has been criticized for being very selective with the graphics she decided to post. In particular, two key statistics were notably absent from the fashionista’s Instagram story: the global infection figure of 145,193 and the death toll of 5,000.
Ferragni calls out Jenner on Instagram
Italian influencer and fashion blogger Chiara Ferragni hit out at Kendall for downplaying the pandemic and sharing misinformation. In videos shared to her Instagram story on Thursday, 32-year-old Chiara slammed Kendall and other celebrities who she claimed, “underestimate the problem and spread the wrong message.”
“For people who have such a huge voice, like Kendall Jenner, please don’t underestimate the problem,” Chiara said. “This is like a serious problem. It’s in my country and it’s going to be in so many different countries right now, so please say what is right and raise awareness.”
Covid-19, which has been declared a global pandemic, has now spread rapidly through more than 120 countries. Chiara’s home country of Italy has now seen the worst outbreak of the virus outside China, with more than 17,600 confirmed cases and approximately 1,200 fatalities.
Chiara herself is currently confined to her Milan home as part of the country’s quarantine measures, and she set up a Go Fund Me page earlier this month to support a local hospital during the crisis.
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This is to fully explain the situation to all my foreigner followers (70% of my 18.7 millions) who clearly don’t understand the situation here in Italy at the moment: IT IS BAD. We have more than 10.000 cases, more than 600 deaths and more than 5000 people at the hospitals with bad conditions. The hospitals are not ready for all these cases and doctors and nurses are doing all they can to help as many as possible but if the number of sick doesn’t slow down they’ll have to start choosing patients based on how young and likely to survive they are. @fedez and I started a crowdfunding on Monday to help a hospital in Milan and it got over 3.6 millions € in offers and so many other people started collecting for other hospitals but there is still a lot that has to be done. The State decided to LOCK ALL OF THE ITALIANS inside their houses til April 3rd to prevent the virus to spread even more and to avoid the whole system and hospitals to collapse. We’re all living in quarantene right now, like some cities in China have done this past month. So please, start the awareness and understand that this is not a common flu and it’s way more dangerous for all of us: STAY IN as much as possible in this critical time. And If you can, help telling others to be careful and help Italy with its hospitals 🙏🏻
The outspoken Italian entrepreneur also posted a message to her Instagram that read, “In Italy we made the same mistake at the beginning, we thought it was ‘just a f*cking flu’ for most people but we had to learn the hard way that it’s way more than that. Our hospitals are collapsing because so many people needs to be hospitalized or, worse, in intensive care units connected to breathing machines.”
In another video, Chiara also warned against comparing coronavirus to the flu. “Most days, especially from foreigners, so many bad comments and so many jokes about coronavirus saying, ‘It’s just a f*cking flu.’ And guys, I can assure you, it’s not just a f*cking flu,” she said.
“It might be for some people, but for so many others, it gives so many complications. If so many people get sick at the same time, like it’s happening in Italy, the hospital will collapse because we don’t have enough intensive care units and breathing machines to help everybody – even young people that have complications,” Ferragni said.
The Pepsi ad that caused outrage
This isn’t the first time Kendall has come under fire from the public for trivializing a serious issue.
In April 2017, the Keeping Up With The Kardashians star appeared in a Pepsi ad that featured her offering a can of the sugary soda to the police as a peace offering during a protest.
The commercial was heavily criticized for appropriating the Black Lives Matter protests taking place across America at the time and was pulled less than 24 hours after it was released.
A few months later, during the Season 14 premiere of Keeping up with the Kardashians, Kendall broke down in tears over the controversy. “If I knew this was going be the outcome I would have never done something like this,” she said.
Kendall has yet to respond to Chiara’s comments.