An Austrian Instagram influencer has defended her trip to Chernobyl after she was attacked for posting from the nuclear disaster zone.
Julia Baessler has 320,000 fans on the Facebook-owned social network – a following that has helped her unlock partnerships with companies like Monster Energy, alongside her twin sister, Stephanie.
She has visited the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant and parts of the surrounding exclusion zone more than once in recent months, with her most recent trip coming in May.
As well as updates to her Instagram Stories, Baessler posted a carousel of four images of her standing in the fateful control room. But she deleted the images on Wednesday after one was featured in a viral tweet about influencers “flocking” to Chernobyl.
The tweet, by user Bruno Zupan, sparked a wave of abuse in the comments on Baessler’s photos, with people accusing her of exploiting the disaster for likes and reach.
Zupan’s post may have also sparked an intervention from Craig Mazin, the writer of HBO’s hit series “Chernobyl.” Mazin tweeted on Tuesday that he had “seen the photos going around” and urged people to remember that “a terrible tragedy” occurred at the Russian power plant.
But Baessler said her visit to Chernobyl was nothing to do with the HBO show – pointing to fact that she had been before it aired on TV — and that she was not there on a photoshoot.
In a series of messages sent to Business Insider over Instagram, Baessler said she was visiting with her boyfriend who is an engineer and she has a genuine interest in nuclear physics.