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Blogger Arielle Charnas has issued a tearful apology to her followers after fleeing New York City less than two weeks after testing positive for COVID-19.
Earlier this month, Charnas, the designer and influencer behind the popular blog and fashion line Something Navy, revealed on Instagram that she tested positive for COVID-19. The 33-year-old chronicled her symptoms and testing on social media, revealing to followers that she was able access a test through her connection to Dr. Jake Deutsch, who owns a medical clinic on the Upper West Side.
Charnas received backlash from her more than 1.3 million followers, who criticized the designer for using her wealth and privilege to access COVID-19 testing when millions across the United States are unable to do so.
In a lengthy message to Instagram, Charnas touched briefly on the issue of privilege.
“It is the responsibility of our government offices to ensure all Americans can access necessary tests and I acknowledge how lucky I am to have had that access,” she said. “I hope this ignites faster movement in the future.”
The mother-of-two revealed that her husband, Brandon, had begun to show signs of the virus, and that the couple was going to self-isolate and remain in quarantine until recovered.
Following her announcement, the blogger continued to share content to social media, including a Louis Vuitton unboxing video and Tik Tok videos.
On March 26, Charnas angered fans once again by fleeing New York City and heading to her home in the Hamptons. Charnas shared a photo of herself outside, stretching with the caption “Fresh air.”
Charnas received immediate backlash for leaving her home approximately one week after testing positive for COVID-19. The move was in direct opposition to a March 13 call for all New York residents to self-quarantine for 14 days to help slow the spread of the virus.
“Shocked and sad you all couldn’t stay quarantined to slow the spread when you posted so much about staying home,” one follower wrote. “You’re probably still shedding. I’ve been a big fan for a long time and this makes me sad.”
“This is so irresponsible on so many levels. People look up to you, and you live in the hub of COVID-19, having just had it yourself,” added another. “Your husband and kids are carriers. Are you that out of touch with reality? People like you are the reason why we will all be dealing with this for months to come. Very disappointing and shameful.”
As former fans continued to express their dismay at Charnas’s decision to leave the city, she did not address any of their concerns, and instead shared photos of herself in the Hamptons with her children outside instead. Charnas eventually deleted several of the posts and stories, and temporarily disabled Instagram comments.
My inbox is full right now with more interesting insights (thank you all!!!) and I’ll respond/share as soon as I have a minute, but in the meantime, please enjoy this lovely interaction today between a former Arielle fan/Cornell student and the one and only Brandon Charnas: pic.twitter.com/7Mk1jecxuO— Sophie Ross (@SophRossss) March 31, 2020
Media outlets and Charnas’s peers began weighing in on the blogger’s decision to leave isolation and chronicle her recovery. While the New York Post dubbed Charnas a “Covidiot,” “Be There In Five” podcast host Kate Kennedy questioned the message Charnas was sending to her fans about the severity of the virus.
“I almost thought I must be misunderstanding the situation because it seems to crazy and illogical to post your active neglect for the rules to all the people who are stuck inside in less desirable circumstances because they are trying to avoid people like you but you’re the one with the actual virus…” Kennedy told fans on Instagram. “If I was watching her experience and that was my depiction of coronavirus. What would I think? That it’s unserious right?”
Writer Sophie Ross chronicled Charnas’s “bizarre” behaviour on social media and shared screen caps of messages Charnas’s husband has sent to former fans. In several photos, Brendan Charnas calls fans “losers” and “irrelevant.”
Ross has also laid out a timeline of Charnas’s actions in the days leading up to her diagnosis, which included reportedly hosting her daughter’s birthday party at a New York City museum a day before she tested positive for COVID-19.
In a tearful video to Instagram stories, Charnas addressed her critics while offering an apology for her “mistakes.”
“I just wanted to come on here and say I’m sorry, I never in a million years wanted to hurt anyone. We’re not bad people. I’m sorry for anyone that I’ve offended or hurt over the last couple weeks,” she said, brushing away tears. “We’re just trying to navigate during this difficult time as I’m sure so many people are. I’m so sorry if I let down my community in any way. Just right now I’m trying to focus on my family because we’ve been receiving horrible threats and I just felt it was time for me to share my truth.”
Charnas also shared a written statement in which she shared a timeline of her symptoms, and revealed that her nanny had been quarantined with them, as she had also contracted the virus.
According to Charnas, the family and their nanny began quarantine on March 13 after they began experiencing symptoms, and waited a full 14 days before leaving their home to travel outside of the city. She told followers that she had been granted permission from her doctors to end their isolation after showing no signs of fever for 72 hours, all symptoms had improved and remaining in quarantine for at least a week after their symptoms first appeared.
“In times of crisis, opening up about every aspect of your life is hard. We are all human. We all make mistakes, including me, especially when a crisis such as this is developing so quickly,” she said. “My family and I are truly sorry to those we have offended for not appearing to be taking this crisis gravely seriously, and we are committed to making informed, responsible decisions going forward.”