- Over the weekend, photos of a yoga retreat in Bali showed over 100 people – many of them white foreigners – gathered with no masks in sight.
- The House of Om faced backlash after the photos surfaced, and organisers of the retreat lied about when the event took place, according to a now-deleted Instagram post on the studio’s page.
- “Most of these foreigners are living in Bali on emergency stay permits from the Indonesian Government, yet they act like they own the island,” Jenny Jusuf, an Indonesian screenwriter, told Triple J Hack.
- Some critics fear the event could have created an environment for the coronavirus to be transmitted to more people.
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A yoga retreat in Bali faced criticism on social media over the weekend after photos circulated on Twitter of the 100- person gathering held on June 18. The photos showed guests – many of them white foreigners – packed into the small treetop studio with no masks in sight.
The House of Om advertised their yoga and meditation retreat on Instagram in a now-deleted post as a “celebration of bliss” and a fundraiser for locals who are out of work due to the pandemic.
The retreat’s founder told attendees to “invite as many friends and family as you want” to the event – where people sang in close quarters with no masks on for hours, according to Triple J Hack.
social distancing? ❌
kurang dari 20 orang? ❌
ada orang indonesia di sana? kalau dari foto2 sih kayaknya nggak.
jumlah orang terinfeksi #COVID19 di bali makin meningkat.
apakah mereka peduli? ❌
— Jenny Jusuf (@JennyJusuf) June 20, 2020
Critics say the lack of coronavirus precautions at the retreat could mean the fundraiser did more harm for locals than good.
“Most of these foreigners are living in Bali on emergency stay permits from the Indonesian Government, yet they act like they own the island,” Jenny Jusuf, a holistic healer, told Triple J Hack.
Indonesia reported 46,845 cases of the coronavirus and 2,500 deaths as of June 23, according to Johns Hopkins University.
In order to quell the criticism, organisers of the retreat said the photos were from December, according to Triple J Hack. But according to the publication, an Instagram story from an attendee and video of the event leaked and quickly made it clear the studio was not being fully honest about the event.
On June 22, House of Om co-founder and CEO Wissam Barakeh posted a statement on social media.
“It was a big and unreasonable mistake that happened in this difficult time,” Barakeh in a now-deleted Instagram post. “We apologise to all Balinese people for our less responsible actions.”
On June 23, the House of Om made another post via Instagram of text reading: “I’m Sorry, Please Forgive Me, Thank You, I Love You.”
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