news

"A magical series of events." An influencer turned her motorbike accident into a... photoshoot.

On scrolling through the moody images on Tiffany Mitchell’s Instagram, complete with a caption that reads like folk song lyrics, you’d be forgiven for thinking the Nashville-based influencer’s latest viral post was a behind the scenes glimpse on the set of a music video.

It was nothing of the sort. The images in question, as published on Buzzfeed News, instead document a motorbike accident she was recently in.

Describing the road accident as a “magical series of events”, which ended with a night of joy and new friends, the series of professional-grade images see her sprawled across the road, clinging to the leg of a friend tending to her wounds, her perfectly manicured hand clutching her flowing blonde hair.

Image: Instagram/Buzzfeed.
Image: Instagram/Buzzfeed.
ADVERTISEMENT

As the lengthy caption details, a friend who had joined Tiffany for the ride had pulled out her camera to take photos of her before the ambulance came.

Since the photos were made public three weeks ago, it has attracted a barrage of criticism from followers.

WATCH: An influencer pretended she went to Coachella. Post continues after video.

Many have called her out for turning her accident into an impromptu photoshoot, while some have suggested it was entirely staged. Worse yet, it's been speculated that it was actually a sponsored post, with a bottle of Smartwater placed next to her, clearly in frame raising suspicion.

Image: Instagram/Buzzfeed.
Image: Instagram/Buzzfeed.
ADVERTISEMENT

While the original feed post has since been deleted, screenshots obtained by Buzzfeed News show the caption in full in which she describes how she misjudged a turn and fell from her bike as it slid across the grass and hit the pavement.

“I was in absolute shock laying on the side of the road,” she continued.

“Scroll through the pics to see how much of it Lindsey captured! Unreal!” was the sentence that followed.

She also wrote that she lost a partner to a motorcycle accident three years ago, so the accident especially affected her, before adding that the night ended with her inviting the strangers who came to her aid back to her house.

“We all drove back to my house with a green light from angels that cleaned me up in the ambulance, sat with our new friends listening to music and laughing until I fell asleep,” she wrote.

“I’m resting and healing up my arm, and @ianwhitetattoos may need to touch up my wildflowers, but I am feeling so much better,” she concluded the long caption.

While a handful of the comments were well-wishes for a speedy recovery, many followers were quick to express confusion at the act of taking, and then sharing, professional-grade photos of an actual accident.

“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.

The post has since been shared on a Reddit thread, where one user wrote, “Genuinely I am perplexed by the idea of a friend snapping angles right next to your head post-motorcycle crash. What the f*ck?!”

Whether the bottle of Smartwater was intentionally placed has also been widely discussed. “Paid in partnership with Smartwater...” one commenter said.

ADVERTISEMENT

Tiffany, who has 211,000 followers on Instagram, told BuzzFeed News she “would never turn a very important personal story like this into a brand campaign".

“I’m sad that some people are taking it that way,” she added.

Smartwater later confirmed to BuzzFeed News that they do not have a partnership with her.

Tiffany's since made her own statement via another Instagram post, in which she says she's disappointed by the negative attention the post has attracted.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

I’ve been figuring out how to respond to everything that’s unfolded recently regarding the post I shared 3 weeks ago about my moto accident. I won’t get into that post here (see my Moto Accident story highlight for all the details), but I want to talk about the reactions I’ve been getting to the article @buzzfeednews posted sensationalizing what I went through that day, and making a mockery of the post I shared. As a result, I’ve been accused of staging the accident to get attention, using it as a product placement opportunity with a water company, and other things I can’t even wrap my head around. I’ve been sharing real life stories here since I started my account. I’ve opened up about miscarriage, divorce, anxiety, losing my partner in a moto accident 3 years ago, and navigating the grief that followed. I’ve chosen to use Instagram as a tool for healing and connecting with other humans who may be going through similar things so we can do it together. And it’s been beautiful. When I work with brands, they’re ones I personally enjoy, and I disclose every single sponsorship. Accusing someone of faking or exploiting an accident is extremely serious—because what if you’re wrong? It really happened to me, and I was scared. I really was injured and had to recover. I was in shock laying on the side of the road, having flashbacks to when I lost someone very important to me. Friends were by my side, strangers called an ambulance, waited while I was checked out and then gave me a ride home. When I found out my professional photographer friend who I’d been shooting with earlier took photos of everything, I was completely moved. I shared this on my feed with humans who have been on a journey with me for years because I knew they would understand what it meant to me and I understood what it would mean to them. I’m sad that something so true and personal has been treated this way, and disappointed in BuzzFeed for spinning it there. I would just ask that if you’re here because of this, consider that the post I made was something real that happened in my life that resonated deeply with me and those who have chosen to follow me. That’s what it was intended for. ????????

A post shared by Tiffany / ???? tifforelie (@tifforelie) on

“I won’t get into that post here (see my Moto Accident story highlight for all the details),” she says, before claiming Buzzfeed "made a mockery" of her.

“Accusing someone of faking or exploiting an accident is extremely serious—because what if you’re wrong? It really happened to me, and I was scared. I really was injured and had to recover,” she assured followers.

“I was in shock laying on the side of the road, having flashbacks to when I lost someone very important to me. Friends were by my side, strangers called an ambulance, waited while I was checked out and then gave me a ride home. When I found out my professional photographer friend who I’d been shooting with earlier took photos of everything, I was completely moved,” she added.

Tags: influencer , instagram , news-stories , viral
00:00 / ???