Since HBO started airing its dramatic series, Chernobyl, based on the real-life events that took place in Ukraine in 1986 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, there has been a renewed interest in the disaster. Not only are people looking to find out more about what happened all those years ago but, as previously reported by The Inquisitr, there has been a surge in tourism to the area.
Since the HBO series started airing in May, there has been a reported 30 to 40 percent rise in tourism for the area, according to local tour groups. In addition to this, many Instagram influencers have been spotted at the location, taking pictures and selfies within the Chernobyl exclusion zone.
Julia Baessler, an Instagram influencer, was one of those initially targeted by Twitter user Bruno Zupan in a post where he accused influencers of rushing to the site.
According to Yahoo!, Baessler, also a law student, has hit back — via Instagram — at claims that she was taking advantage of the Chernobyl disaster for her own benefit. Baessler was fully dressed in the images, unlike some people who showed themselves in varying levels of undress. Her images also showed her in the protective wear required in the area.
Meanwhile in Chernobyl: Instagram influencers flocking to the site of the disaster. pic.twitter.com/LnRukoLirQ
— Bruno Zupan (@komacore) June 9, 2019
However, others have been more brazen in their attempts to snap provocative selfies in the Chernobyl exclusion zone. Said users have since come under fire, facing claims that their images make a mockery of those who lost their lives after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster. The exclusion zone was initially intended to be temporary, but it remains in effect to this day. And, while some areas within the zone are now considered much safer — or have even been taken out of the Chernobyl exclusion zone — it is still a sensitive issue for those involved.
According to Business Insider, Baessler has made two recent trips to Chernobyl, and did so because of her interest in the history of the area and in nuclear physics.
“I didn’t come to visit Chernobyl as a tourist attraction or shooting spot because of the HBO series and I’m sick of reading this,” Baessler said via Instagram messages sent to Business Insider.
“I have been visiting Chernobyl for the first time long before the series came out because I’m really interested in history and nuclear physics itself.”
— Andy Vermaut (@AndyVermaut) June 12, 2019
Baessler went on to explain that her boyfriend, an engineer, had special access within the Chernobyl exclusion zone. She also stated that she did not have a “photographer or lighting team” with her when she visited most recently.
Baessler also lamented the fact that many fans on her Instagram account saw her as only an Instagram model.
“It’s sad that people only see me as an ‘Instagram model’ and can’t believe that I’m deeply interested in history or physics. People are full just [of] prejudices and that really sucks.”
Baessler’s images from Chernobyl have since been removed from her Instagram account as a result of the uproar.
Craig Mazin, who created HBO’s Chernobyl, has also urged fans to remember that it was the site of “a terrible tragedy” after having seen images of tourists at the site.