Aruba is an island in the Caribbean, and is highly dependent on tourism. Many holiday paradises have been hit hard by the sharp decline in travel in the wake of the corona pandemic.
Swedish Rachel "Yoga Girl" Bråthén has lived in Aruba for ten years and with her over two million followers on Instagram is by far one of Sweden's biggest influencers. She was concerned that new cases of covid-19 had been discovered in Aruba, and posted a post on social media urging people not to travel to the island if they had been in areas with many infected and dead.
She could not imagine the reactions that came."Did not feel safe at home"
In large numbers of comments and messages, she was asked to leave the island, pictures of her family were posted, and people were asked to share her home address so they could "come and visit".
- The reaction was stronger and more threatening than anything I experienced. For several days I was afraid for my family's and did not feel safe at home in our house, Rachel Bråthén tells SVT Nyheter.
Why do you think the reactions to your post became so extreme?
- The island is in crisis. 30,000 potentially unemployed people, all are worried and many are unwell. I think the reactions show exactly how people's mental health is."Wondering if Aruba is the right place for us"
How does this affect your future in Aruba?
- I know that the threats I received are not a reflection of the Aruba I feel, but I suddenly do not feel safe on the island anymore and wonder if this is the right place for us.
For a couple of years, there has been a debate about cyber-hatred, in Sweden and abroad. As a person with a large presence in social media, Rachel Bråthén thinks that people must be better protected from hatred.
- Online hatred is a much bigger problem than we think.
In the comment fields, Rachel Bråthén has also been met with support.