- An Instagram influencer deleted her social media accounts and apologised after posting she was surprised that someone in a "scammy" Indian city returned her iPhone X.
- The post went viral and was criticised as racist. People sent her threats of violence and called for brands to stop working with her.
- Grady said she's well-versed in Indian culture and that her post was taken out of context.
Instagram influencer Colleen Grady has apologised and deleted her social media presence after making a viral post that expressed her surprise that someone in a "scammy" Indian city would return her lost iPhone.
"I am sorry that my words did not give clarity to the intentions in sharing my story. I had no intentions to belittle the Indian culture," she wrote on her personal website. "The moral of the story was the blessings and gratitude I had for the Indian people who helped me in a moment of panic when losing my phone in a foreign country. I apologise the most for the amount of pure hate that this has pulled out of so many people's hearts and spread around the world."
In Grady's original post, made in December on her account @mindbodycolleen, she said she lost her iPhone X in Jaipur, "one of the most scammy tourist cities in India." She said she didn't expect to get it back since it's "worth more money than some people in this country will have in their own lifetime" and that someone who found it "probably would not even know what to do with it."
She then recounted meeting "some stranger in a dark alley to retrieve it," noting "all I was thinking was should I have brought my mace, lol." She was surprised, then, when an Indian iPhone X owner found her phone and returned it to her without asking for money, but "just blessings."
The post was pilloried on Instagram and Twitter as being racist and ignorant about India's technological advances. Users also threatened violence and called for brands to stop working with her.
Her mother, also the target of threats, deleted her Twitter account as well.
In her apology, Grady said she's spent hundreds of hours studying Indian traditions, has volunteered in schools, and lived with a host family in India. Her viral post, she said, misrepresents her views on the country.
"I'm sorry my words were perceived in a way that were so far from my true feelings about this country and the people in it," she said. "In the future, I will be more aware of my language and how my words are perceived."
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