The concern over ‘celebrity’ endorsements of miracle diets and health solutions on social media continues to grow and, judging by the latest travesty, with some justification.
As part of an undercover BBC investigation, three prominent British Instagram influencers were filmed agreeing promote a made-up diet drink containing the deadly poison cyanide.
Lauren Goodger, Mike Hassini and Zara Holland, stars of reality TV shows like The Only Way is Essex and Love Island were filmed by the BBC Three series Blindboy Undestroys the World, rehearsing promos for the faked ‘Cyanora’ drink.
The trio, which have 1.3 million instagram followers between them, are filmed mentioning the ingredient “hydrogen cyanide” when running through the script. They were informed the drink would not be ready for a few weeks, but agreed to promote it anyway.
Zara Holland, the Love Island performer, said she would never deliberately mislead her followers.
She said: “My agent did state that I would not promote a product without trying it first, and we needed to be provided with more details. I would never deliberately mislead my followers or promote a product that was dangerous.”
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The ex-TOWIE performer Lauren Goodger said also cops to having “not tried” Skinny Coffee; a product she was previously paid to endorse, claiming it had helped her lose two stone. Her response to the cyanide controversy hardly cut the mustard (gas) either.
In a statement ironically published to Instagram she wrote: “This script was given to me at that precise moment. No deals were signed and it was an audition. They asked me would I promote the drink without using it.
“In the heat of the moment I said yes and also said I hadn’t tried Skinny Coffee in the hope of getting the job. Of course I would never promote anything that contains poison and proper checks would have been made before any promotion.”
Of course, this doesn’t explain why she and the other pair didn’t twig when they came across the word cyanide. That, our friends, is another story for another time.
Earlier today, it emerged that Facebook and Instagram had banned influencers from promoting vaping paraphernalia and guns. Perhaps diet solutions should be next?