Followers mock influencer’s ‘scam’ tour
INSTAGRAM influencer Caroline Calloway is facing fierce backlash after cancelling her US$165 "Creativity Workshop" seminars.
Followers said that her tour was a "scam," comparing it to 2017's disastrous Fyre Festival, the New York Post reports.
Ms Calloway, 26, is a blogger with more than 820,000 Instagram followers. She rose to online stardom after documenting her love story with a University of Cambridge student on her Instagram account and turned it into a US$100,000 book deal, which fell through after she wasn't able to complete her memoir. Instead, she's taken to writing about her musings via Instagram stories, which is where she first promoted her "creativity workshop" in December that would teach her followers how to live their best lives.
While Ms Calloway, who lives in the West Village, did not have an event venue booked, she promised her followers that for a US$165 ticket, each four-hour seminar would include a coffee, a personalised journal, a care package and a presentation on "the emotional and spiritual dimensions of making art" and building your social media brand. She promised that the tour would be held in multiple cities including New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, Washington, DC, and London.
Journalist Kayleigh Donaldson chronicled Ms Calloway's workshops in a viral Twitter thread and exposed how poorly planned the idea was. In one post, Ms Calloway wrote that she was overwhelmed by the logistics of her tour, stating "event space/flights/hotels/food/stuff/FRESH ORCHIDS are so expensive."
She had to relocate her Boston, Chicago and Philadelphia events to Brooklyn. In another Instagram story, she asked her fans to pack their own lunch because she didn't have enough time to secure food.
"Scamming people out of hundreds of dollars for the chance to be 'real' with an influencer is not good business," Donaldson wrote in a post for Pajiba.
People who were able to attend Ms Calloway's sessions in Washington, DC, and New York over the weekend felt they didn't get their money's worth.
One attendee told Donaldson on Twitter that there were "no notes. No flower crowns".
"Only about 1.5 hours (max) of actual 'teaching' if you can even call it that. Icing on the cake? Her 'staff' are 20-year-old college girls with no event planning/logistics experience that are just huge fans of her and that's about it," they said.
Another guest wrote on Reddit,"There wasn't an orchid crown! Just a single flower to put in our hair that we didn't keep. Mason jar had a little pack of wildflower seeds."
On Monday, Ms Calloway apologised, cancelled her tour and issued refunds to all ticket holders.
"I take full responsibility for letting my total inexperience with event planning and GREED create a situation where the details of the tour were ever-changing, preparation was inadequate, and the event did not match the description by the time it went on," she wrote on Twitter. "I also agree $165 was too much to charge for tickets."
This article originally appeared on the New York Post and has been republished with permission