Russian influencer Leia Se thought she got away with what she seemed to think was the ultimate stunt during her trip to Bali—an island that is part of Indonesia.
Se painted a mask on her face instead of wearing a real one. She then violated pandemic protocols and completed a shopping trip in a Bali grocery store.
And she did get away with it, for a time—until the authorities saw the video of the incident her companion, YouTuber Josh Paler Lin, posted. The two were detained and their passports seized.
Many people were outraged by the video, a clip which you can see below, when it went viral a few weeks ago.
Typically, foreign visitors are allowed two violations of law and are subject to a fine equal to roughly $89 before they are deported.
But tourism is the backbone of the Balinese economy. Indonesia has struggled to get and keep pandemic caseloads on the island low enough to allow visitors after having closed to tourists for part of last year. It has managed to do so in 2021 with stringent rules and protocols pertaining to the virus.
Given that struggle, the Indonesian authorities decided Se would be deported immediately—especially because, as the island's Governor noted, the mask stunt was the third pandemic-related prank Se had pulled while in Bali.
The Governor, Wayan Koster, had a sober warning for anyone else thinking they can skirt Bali's rules.
"We won't tolerate anyone who violates the health protocols to keep Bali safe."
In a video posted to Lin's Instagram page, Se and Lin, accompanied by lawyers, apologized for their stunt.
In it, Lin claimed he was just doing his job by staging the stunt with Se.
"I am a content creator and it is my job to entertain people."
Lin and Se's apology did very little to ingratiate them to people on social media.
Before the pandemic, Bali was already experiencing extensive problems from hosting too many tourists, from a garbage and wastewater crisis to soaring rents for locals. Hopefully the government's swift dealings with Lin and Se will at least keep "influencers endangering public health" off of the list of tourism ills faced by the Balinese.