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An influencer from the US is being sued for claiming she’s the first woman to visit every country in the world.
Cassie De Pecol has over 500,000 followers on Instagram, where she keeps people updated with her ventures in travel, writing and activism.
In 2017, she broke two Guinness World Records – both being the fastest time and the first woman to visit every country in the world.
However, after gaining international attention, some disputed the claim that De Pecol was the first female to achieve the feat.
A feature written by The Washington Post’s Taylor Lorenz pointed out that 87-year-old Audrey Walsworth visited all 193 UN recognized countries and all 327 Travelers Century Club (TCC) territories long before De Pecol did.
Lorenz went on to discuss Dorothy Pine, who is believed to be the first woman to achieve this goal, having spent decades travelling around the world throughout the 20th century and visiting every TCC territory by 2005.
With this information in mind, American travel advocate group Travelers United is now suing 32-year-old De Pecol after witnessing what it alleges are ‘bold lies from this one particular influencer’.
In a statement, the collective wrote: “De Pecol raised funds from investors with a pitch deck that said she would be the first woman to travel to every country (not true) and she sent out press releases saying she was going to be the first woman to travel to every country (not true).
“Her beautiful photos and false press releases gained her attention in press throughout the world including pieces on CNN and NBC News that are still up.”
Travelers United went on to describe how De Pecol’s following count grew after her travels, and she was able to generate a ‘lucrative career as an influencer’ by landing a book deal and paid social media posts.
The lawsuit falls under Washington DC’s Consumer Protection Procedures Act (CPPA) after Travelers United’s Counsel, Lauren Wolfe, discovered she was able to purchase goods directly from De Pecol’s Instagram accounts and have them mailed to her house in DC.
“Based on that, she is subject to DC advertising laws which forbid unfair and deceptive practices,” they added.
Wolfe stated: “Travelers United is concerned about the increasing prominence of travel influencers with false claims and deceptive sponsorships that are seeping into every aspect of American life.
“Meta, which owns Instagram, must take more proactive steps to remove disinformation from their platform.”
Until then, the group is demanding for De Pecol’s posts referencing her to be the first woman to travel to every country to be removed and for NBC and CNN to retract their De Pecol articles.
They concluded: “We strongly suggest Gillette Venus Razors, Quest Nutrition, Marriott Hotels and GoDaddy correct their advertisements that include De Pecol or remove them entirely.”
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