Quarantined influencer slams critics
An Instagram influencer under quarantine at a major hotel has hit out at critics who called her a "princess" for wanting access to fresh air, labelling her critics as"keyboard warriors" who probably hoarded toilet roll yet presumed to judge her.
She said she was in tears when she read comments directed to her and has pleaded with people to be kinder.
Jessica Pinili, a 26-year-old health coach for women, is four days into a 14-day lockdown at Perth's luxury Duxton Hotel.
Based on the Indonesian island of Bali, she flew back home to Australia on Sunday, just after it become a requirement for all arrivals from overseas to go into a mandatory quarantine at hotels.
Thousands of Australians are now locked down at hotels across the country. Some have complained about trivial matters, such as the quality of the food, but others have said they have had delays in getting vital prescription medicines.
A number have told news.com.au that they have no point of contact to even request their scripts are filled and have been told to instead call the health department's overloaded switchboard number if they have any queries.
Taking to Instagram earlier this week, Ms Pinili said it was a "human rights" issue that she has been locked in her room and wasn't allowed out to access fresh air.
"This is worse than being a prisoner, prisoners get fresh air," she said in video uploaded to the social media site that led to an onslaught of criticism.
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ISOLATION Noun // the process or fact of isolating or being isolated. I’ve been riding that rollercoaster of emotions over the past couple of weeks. That ebb and flow of highs and lows - although sometimes it seems like the lows are all-consuming. Let’s all just be fucking real for a moment. It’s rough right now. We’re all being called to turn inwards. We’re all being called to face the untouched parts of our minds. The untouched parts of our soul that swim around in our subconscious. I’ve revisited grief. Insecurities. Fears. Uncertainties. And I’m sure as the weeks roll out in front of us - these untouched parts will continue to surface. Now, more than ever, it is crucial for you to face these parts. How can you truly love yourself? How can you fill your cup up every single day? How can you come home to yourself? I think this space we’ve been granted is frightening but it is also giving us focus on our evolution. Choose where to rest your mind moment to moment. Head to the link in my bio ✨
Talking to news.com.au, Ms Pinili said she was shocked when she woke up the next day and found scores of comments criticising her and suggesting she was ungrateful at her stay, the cost of which were being covered by the taxpayer.
"Cyber-bullying is a real thing and it's disgusting the comments that have been made," she said. She has been called a "spoiled brat," a "princess," and other terms full of expletives.
"It's just nasty. Some said I was selfish for wanting air. Another person said you need to think about (holocaust victim) Anne Frank because she had it worse," she says.
"That means no one can complain about anything because she did indeed have it far worse than anyone."
She said she reached out in tears to friends as the abuse occurred.
"It was terrible. I can't explain how I felt inside. I told my friends that it was one of hardest days mentally of my 20s that I've experienced," she said.
Ms Pinili said she thought people were scared of the coronavirus pandemic and were taking that panic out on her.
"People are projecting their fears and stress onto me, their sadness, they've lost their jobs maybe and I'm the outlet for that. It's unfortunate for me but I'm trying to understand they are scared."
Nevertheless, she had some harsh words for those who had posted the most abusive comments.
"They are keyboard warriors in their house who could pop put right now if they wanted (to get some fresh air)," she said.
"People say just suck it up, but these are the people who are hoarding toilet paper."
Ms Pinili said she understood why she was in quarantine and had no issues with the hotel.
"It's lovely here. Never once have I complained," she said.
"When people say to me, but you're in a five-star hotel, yes, but I'm in four walls of it. I don't have access to the bar or restaurant or swimming pool.
"So, I have no complaints about the room but I don't get any of the amenities."
She said that she didn't regret her public demand for access to fresh air, nor that the lack of it meant she was being deprived of a privilege prisoners enjoyed.
"All of us in quarantine are struggling without sunlight or a few minutes of air," she said.
"It's about people's mental health. Even if we had 10 minutes fresh air escorted by police officers wearing a hazmat suit, I know we would be happy with that."
She won't get much sympathy from Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan who yesterday took a swipe at despondent hotel guests.
"Countless members of our community have lost their jobs or their businesses and are facing an uncertain future," he was reported as saying on PerthNow.
"Let me be clear - people are facing much more severe challenges at the moment than having to stay in a hotel."
While Ms Pinili is in Western Australia, guests of other hotels have also complained they have been unable to get any outdoor exercise.
However, a document from NSW Health and seen by news.com.au doesn't forbid those in quarantine from having some level of outdoor access. It states they "may" have access to outdoor spaces so long as they wear a mask, but that would "depend on your accommodation".
Ms Pinili said she was passing the days working, talking to friends, doing yoga, meditating and journalling. She said she also been heartened by other messages of support.
She conceded talking up now could encourage a new onslaught of criticism, but pleaded for people to be kinder.
"It's a scary and surreal time and we seem to be acting collectively in fear and we should all be collectively acting with love and being there for one another - not bringing each other down.
"I can laugh at (my critics) now, people need an outlet, and right then that outlet seemed to be to take their anger out on 26-year-old influencer."