When Kim Kardashian West, the reality TV star, shared photographs of her salubrious 40th birthday celebrations on a private island with her followers online, she imagined others “less privileged” would share in her joy.
But with coronavirus cases soaring to an all-time high back home in mainland America and strict restrictions in place preventing people from travelling, they were not all too amused.
The Keeping Up With the Kardashians star posted to her social media a string of "tone deaf” glitzy photos of herself with family and friends sipping cocktails in a mansion and by a pool to “pretend things were normal just for a brief moment in time.”
She explained how guests were asked to undergo two weeks of quarantine and “multiple health screenings” before being “surprised” by the trip to an undisclosed private island, where she tried to reassure her tens of millions of fans that she was being careful.
“We danced, rode bikes, swam near whales, kayaked, watched a movie on the beach and so much more,” she wrote in her Instagram and Twitter posts.
According to the New York Post, the weekend stay at The Brando, a luxurious private island resort in French Polynesia, cost $1 million, which included the cost of chartering an 88-seat Boeing 777. The Brando Resort - actor Marlon Brando’s private island - is known as one of the finest eco-friendly resorts in the world, where villas go for up to $20,000 a night.
“I realise that for most people, this is something that is so far out of reach right now, so in moments like these, I am humbly reminded of how privileged my life is," wrote Ms Kardashian West, who has four children with husband and rapper Kanye West
Followers, who took issue with the epithet “humble”, posted less glamorous pictures from their own two-week quarantine. Others replied with pictures of a mass gravesite for coronavirus victims in New York’s Hart Island.
Ronan Farrow, the journalist son of actress Mia Farrow, pasted Ms Kardashian West’s words over Hieronymus Bosch’s depiction of Hell in The Garden of Earthly Delights. And New York's Museum of Modern Art felt that Matisse's "Dance" best fit the description.
Kat Kinsman, a senior editor at Food & Wine, summed up what many others thought. “You know what would have felt normal for me, Kim? Not having to say goodbye to my mother over FaceTime as she was dying of Covid” Ms Kinsman tweeted. “Rubbing this in our faces is cruel & clueless.”
The star was also criticised for organising the getaway at a time when many governments are advising against non-essential travel, and as the economic impact of the pandemic causes millions to be put under financial pressure.
As cold weather sets in across much of the US, the country is logging more coronavirus infections than ever before.
Tuesday marked the first time that the rolling seven-day average of new daily case counts — a metric considered more reliable than single-day figures — topped 70,000. More than 8.7 million Covid-19 cases have been reported nationwide since February, and at least 226,000 people have died of it.
Strict travel restrictions are in place in several US states, including New York, are requiring people to quarantine for two weeks upon arrival. Ms Kardashian West turned 40 on October 21.
She was thrown another surprise birthday for an episode of the family’s long-running reality show.