Recently, Nashville-based lifestyle blogger and influencer, Tiffany Mitchell posted some rather fishy “professionally-shot” images of a motorcycle road accident she was involved in. What made these photos so bizarre, other than how professional they looked, were the almost made-to-look-staged bottles of water at the scene of the accident, almost as if it were an advertisement.

Since then, people on social media have been calling out Tiffany for staging what could actually be considered a very serious accident and glamorizing it for the sake of product placement.

When Instagram Influence Goes Too Far

A few weeks ago, lifestyle blogger and influencer, Tiffany Mitchell posted a series of images that looked like a normal day out on the bikes with her friends. But soon the images turned into a nightmare, with Tiffany lying on the ground, clutching the hand of a friend and waiting for paramedics in the presence of a… Smart Water?

It seemed a little much, and people took to the internet to scold her for it, saying Tiffany used the opportunity to make a promotional post. Buzzfeed reported that Tiffany’s post, which has since been removed, was catching a lot of flack in her comments section.

Tiffany took to Instagram to defend herself:

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

[Related Reading: This Instagram Influencer Is On A Mission To Prove Social Media Is Not Real Life]

The Accusations of Strangers on the Internet

So what if Tiffany is telling the truth? It’s easy for the internet to turn into a giant echo chamber of blame these days.

Tiffany took to Instagram again to post photos of herself after the accident, showing her bruises and scratches and scratched up bike helmet. Although Tiffany wasn’t seriously injured, it appeared she didn’t walk away unscathed.

So next time, don’t be so quick to point the finger, Internet. Once we get our pitchforks out, it can seem like there’s no stopping us in the blame game. But take a step back, not everything is a publicity stunt. Sometimes, people might be more genuine than they seem.

(Via DIYPhotography)