Influencers Offered Up To £100,000 To Sleep With Men In Dubai
Social media influencers and reality TV stars have revealed they’ve been offered thousands of pounds and the promise of material goods in exchange for sex.
Those who make a living through Instagram typically encourage their followers to engage as much as possible, as this has the knock-on effect of making them look desirable to brands and advertisers.
It’s not uncommon for them to receive both positive and negative messages from followers, but Love Island star Rosie Williams explained that while influencers are warned about trolling and having their lives ‘change dramatically’, something they aren’t prepared for is the possibility they could be ‘bought by men’.
The reality TV star spoke to the Victoria Derbyshire programme about the issue, revealing she herself had been offered £100,000 ($130,000) a year, plus clothes and bags, to become a companion to a man in Dubai.
One recent message she received purported to be from a man in Dubai, who said he had an ‘important transaction’ he wanted to share with her. Williams claimed the phrase was one commonly used in the messages.
The 28-year-old said she has never been tempted to take anyone up on their offer, but the unexpected aspect of fame is not something typically spoken about in influencer circles.
We either aren’t in a position where we need to do it so we don’t speak about it, or we’ve done it and we’re too ashamed.
Another Love Island star, Tyne-Lexy Clarson, has also received monetary offers in exchange for sex. Clarson featured on the second series of the ITV show but the messages preceded her appearance, as she was first propositioned when she was just 19 years old.
She was initially offered £20,000 ($26,000) for dinner and drinks, but after appearing on Love Island an agency emailed her and offered £50,000 ($65,000) for five nights in Dubai. The offer contained a non-disclosure agreement stating the details of what she would be required to do would remain confidential.
Clarson refused, but she expressed concern for struggling influencers who may be tempted to take up offers to present the appearance of a luxury lifestyle.
Messages vary from men directly suggesting sex to agents acting on behalf of a wealthy client.
One woman, who identified herself to Victoria Derbyshire by the pseudonym Isabel, claimed to have been approached on Instagram by a man 10 years older than her after she appeared on a TV talent show. The man is said to have had a ‘fetish for being financially dominant’, so he spent hundreds of pounds on bags for Isabel.
The exchange continued over the internet for 18 months, until the reality TV star finally met the man she had been speaking to.
At dinner we started drinking and he was asking about my finances – I explained I was in £5,000 of debt. He said: ‘Have sex with me and I’ll give you double that.’
Isabel decided to take the man up on his offer, though she said she felt ‘degraded’ and ‘violated’ afterwards. The woman did not feel the exchange was a form of prostitution, bur rather ‘a targeted relationship that progressed over time’.
Carson, however, felt differently about the offers.
The Love Island star said:
It’s high-end prostitution – it’s just scary to think if they’ve messaged me, they’ve probably sent it to thousands of pretty girls on Instagram.
Heather Brunskell-Evans, a spokesperson for the feminist group Object, pointed out those who accept the offers are undoubtedly ‘selling their bodies for money’.
The groomers are offering the woman everything she needs to be a success at her job as an influencer, but ultimately it’s exploitation, and that woman will have to do things for that money that she doesn’t want to associate herself with, that make her feel shamed.
Celebrity agent Rob Cooper has said male influencers can also be approached with similar offers. Cooper believes ‘high-level influencers’ or ‘reality stars’ receive these kinds of messages ‘every single day’.
The agent is urging social media platforms to find a way to make people accountable for the messages sent from their account, possibly by linking accounts to passports or national insurance numbers.
A spokesperson for Facebook, which owns Instagram, responded to the issue, saying:
Sexual solicitation is not tolerated on Instagram, and those who repeatedly break our guidelines will be banned. We want Instagram to be a safe space for people to express themselves.
We invest heavily in tools and technologies to prevent harassment on the platform.
One influencer described social media as being like a ‘catalogue’ for men who may be willing to offer money, allowing them to flick through pages in order to find their next target.
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