Essena O'Neill: Friends of the Instagram star claim her social media boycott is a 'hoax'
Essena O'Neill has responded to accusations from friends that her decision to ditch Instagram and YouTube was a “hoax."
The 19-year-old model from Queensland, Australia, became famous for posting photos of her day-to-day life while endorsing products to her fans - claiming to make up to $2,000 Australian dollars (€1,134) for a single post.
O'Neill made global headlines earlier this week when she announced her plans to quit YouTube and Instagram, claiming "Social media allowed me to profit off deluding people."
In an emotional video, the Australian claimed the her social media success had left her "miserable." She re-captioned a number of images with details about endorsements behind them and how much she had been paid to wear free clothes by companies.
Two YouTube sisters Nina and Randa, who O’Neill visited in Los Angeles, dismiss her claims as untrue and believe it's just a stunt.
"'She has more Instagram followers than ever because of this publicity stunt," they say in their own YouTube video called 'ESSENA O'NEILL Quitting Social Media Is A HOAX.'
“It hurts my feelings that she would say ‘they’re all miserable’ or ‘they are all into this wealth’ or ‘they are all fake’," the pair said in a video on Wednesday.
The sisters also blamed her departure from Instagram on her break-up with her boyfriend.
"The reason she is so upset and so down is because of the break up with this guy. And then she is putting all the blame on social media and saying everyone in LA is horrible and cares about fame and is depressed […] That’s just not true, what she is saying is fake.”
But O’Neill, who deleted her Instagram account on Wednesday, insisted her decision was about wanting to be transparent, not because of her personal life, on her Let’s Be Game Changers website.
“This is about me feeling the need to constantly perfect and edit my life online,” she responded. “I’ve had these feelings about social media for ages and struggled with coming to grips with them.
“I want to use this spot light to talk about veganism, environmental awareness, body positivity.”
O'Neill is now requesting financial support on her website, which she says will be put into issues she "actually" cares about.
The former Instagram star is asking visitors to pay what they feel her content is worth and has promised that none of her posts will be sponsored.