As part of a BBC Three segment called ‘Blindboy Undestroys the World’, which is aimed to “be tackling subjects such as human trafficking through to scam celebrity endorsements”, the host picked three well known Instagram influencers to promote a fake, harmful product in order to measure the lengths influencers will go for a #ad.
During the segment, influencers Lauren Goodger, Mike Hassani and Zara Holland were selected to promote a diet drink called Cyanora, which means Hydrogen Cyanide. The drink is a made up product which clearly lists its main ingredient as gas hydrogen cyanide which is extremely poisonous. According to the American Chemical Society, hydrogen cyanide was used in Nazi-run extermination camps, and has also been used to execute death row inmates in some U.S. states.
The influencers were given some information about the product and were told that they would not be able to test the product until it was ready to launch in a few more months. Regardless, they filmed brief promos for Cyanora, mentioning hydrogen cyanide by name.
After they were informed about what they’d done, Goodger and Holland both released statements through their agents, and needless to say, the main ingredient in those releases was frantic damage control. Through her representative, Goodger said that she had not signed a deal to endorse Cyanora, and that she’d only taken part in an audition. “They asked me would I promote the drink without using it,” she wrote. “In the heat of the moment I said yes […] Of course I would never promote anything that contains poison and proper checks would have been made before any promotion.”
But in a lengthy, lengthy Instagram story she posted on Thursday morning, Goodger said that she felt “set up” by the program. “I kind of walked into a meeting blind. I got an audition for a job. I wasn’t explained much of the information. My agent at the time got the email we’re promoting this new water,” she said “I love water […] Obviously I went to the meeting, I was in there for how long, talking away, and they’ve obviously took the bits that they wanted.
“I was filmed, and I just feel very set up to be honest because they never told me that it there was poison in it. Obviously it’s not a real product, I… what is it? Cynanine, whatever it’s called. I’ve never heard of it before and it was a trick […] I don’t really feel like I’m in the wrong because I wasn’t told. I was kind of put on the spot with a green screen. I still don’t know what [cyanide] means. If you look on the back of a normal water bottle, there’s all different words on there, and not all of it I know, it’s not just water.”
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