An Instagram heiress with 85,000 followers has been slammed by a judge for being an “utterly self-centered” individual who saw nothing wrong with smuggling snakeskin baseball caps into Britain and selling them on the black market.
The Daily Mail reports that Stephanie Scolaro, known as Stephy, had been importing illegal snakeskin caps and selling them via her website SS Python, her Instagram account, and a boutique in Mayfair.
Scolaro is the swimmer model daughter of an Italian mining tycoon and something of an Instagram success story who delights in sharing pictures of herself in high-end designer clothes and driving super cars in exotic locations across the globe.
Prosecutor Gregor Mckinley said, “Ms. Scolaro herself has a very active engagement with social media and in particular with an Instagram channel which she operates and manages.
“She has been described in some quarters as being influential in terms of fashion, in particular with young people. The goods in question are a kind of baseball hat, in different colors, made from python skin. Also advertised on the website and seized as consignments were bags, both large holdalls and smaller bag.”
Some of the snakeskin baseball caps retailed for over $700. Prosecutor Mckinley explained that the case was about the importation and sale of articles made from genuine python skin.
Judge Michael Gledhill QC was scathing in his condemnation of Scolaro and said, “This is a young woman who, for all sorts of different reasons, is utterly self-centered. Her entire life (is) concentrated around herself. One of the reasons is all her life she has in effect been given exactly what she wanted.
“She thinks ‘I like Python skins, I can get them and sell them, and therefore I do it.’ She focuses the spotlight on herself, it’s all about me. There is no thought about pythons in Indonesia, how they are skinned alive and how they are endangered doesn’t cross her mind.”
The BBC reports that the python skin trade is worth a billion and is threatening the survival of some species. In some locations, the snakes are killed in an extremely cruel fashion.
Compared with say, elephants, snakes don’t evoke a great deal of sympathy and the illegal trade in snakeskin product doesn’t garner the same sort of media attention and celebrity interest as other wildlife issues.
Scolaro was sentenced to community service at Southwark Crown Court. She pleaded guilty to two counts of importing goods with the intent to evade a prohibition, two counts of keeping for sale a species acquired unlawfully, and one count of selling a species unlawfully imported between 2016 and 2017.