Influencer Brags About Her Easy Life In Bali On Twitter, Gets Deported Over It

Travel influencer Kristen Gray, who spent 2020 in Bali and went viral for a Twitter thread encouraging others to move to the Indonesian island, is now being deported, multiple outlets report.

The 28-year-old self-described “digital nomad” and her girlfriend Saundra Alexander, 30, are, as of Wednesday morning, awaiting a flight back to the United States while in immigration detention, according to the Associated Press.

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Gray’s viral Twitter thread caught the attention of the local government, which claims she was carrying out business endeavors in Bali without having the correct visa to do so.

Kristen Gray and her girlfriend had been living in Bali, an island in Indonesia with a large tourism industry, for about a year as “digital nomads”

But her recent Twitter thread about her experience in Bali while promoting the sale of the couple’s e-book received huge backlash

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But Indonesia has restricted foreigners from coming to the country since Jan. 1 to control the spread of Covid, and public activities have been restricted on the islands of Java and Bali

Her tweets were considered to have “disseminated information disturbing to the public,” which was the basis for her deportation, said Jamaruli Manihuruk, chief of the Bali regional office for the Ministry of Law and Human Rights.

A statement from the office highlighted her descriptions of Bali providing comfort for LGBT and being easily accessible during the pandemic. It also referenced tweets with links to her e-book, which had direct links to agents who were offering help to foreigners who wanted to move to the island.

“She stated that she could provide easy access to Bali through the recommended agency and offered the low living costs in Bali, that it is comfortable and LGBTQ-friendly,” Manihuruk said at a news conference Tuesday.

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Gray supposedly was offering an e-book costing $30 and a follow-up consultation about becoming an expatriate in Bali for $50. “She is suspected of carrying out business activities by selling e-books and put a rate for consulting (about) Bali tourism,” Manihuruk said.

Gray, however, thinks she did nothing wrong and is being deported for speaking out about LGBT

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“I am not guilty,” Gray told reporters after Immigration officials announced the deportation. “I have not overstayed my (tourist) visa. I am not making money in Indonesian rupiah. I put out a statement about LGBT and I am deported because of LGBT.”

While homosexuality is technically legal in Indonesia (except Aceh, a province with strict Islamic laws), there has been a disturbing rise in persecution against LGBT individuals in recent years, which international NGO Human Rights Watch labeled as an “anti-LGBT moral panic” in 2018.

Social psychologist Benny Siauw said that Gray’s statement mentioning Bali as a queer-friendly place might have a negative ripple effect for Indonesian queers, especially now that it is used by officials as one of the reasons to deport her.

Siauw cited a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center published last year, which found that only around 9 percent of Indonesians say homosexuality should be accepted.

“So, where should Indonesian queers go to if this leads to future homophobic persecutions?” he said.

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Twitter immediately started reacting to the news

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The post Influencer Brags About Her Easy Life In Bali On Twitter, Gets Deported Over It first appeared on Bored Panda.


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