A lifestyle blogger based in Nashville is answering to critics who questioned why she turned her scary motorcycle accident into an impromptu photo shoot.
Tiffany Mitchell, who has over 211,000 followers on Instagram, told BuzzFeed News she “would never turn a very important personal story like this into a brand campaign.”
“I’m sad that some people are taking it that way,” she added, before requesting BuzzFeed News not proceed with writing this story as it would “draw negative attention.”
Mitchell shared the post two weeks ago after she got into a motorcycle accident that left her shaken and with minor scrapes. A photographer friend was driving alongside taking photos of her at the time. The friend, named Lindsey, then continued to snap photos during and after the traumatic event.
All of these photos — including some of Mitchell lying on the road being tended to, and one with a bottle of Smartwater — were then shared in a series of Instagram photos accompanied by a lengthy caption.
Mitchell described the incident as “unreal,” and described a scene where after she was thrown off her bike, strangers tended to her and helped load her bike on a trailer.
“We all drove back to my house with a green light from angels that cleaned me up in the ambulance, sat with our new friends listening to music and laughing until I fell asleep,” she wrote.
She wrote that she lost a partner to a motorcycle accident three years ago, so the accident especially affected her.
“I’m resting and healing up my arm, and @ianwhitetattoos may need to touch up my wildflowers, but I am feeling so much better,” she concluded the long caption.
A lot of people sent her well wishes and flooded her comments with warm thoughts. (Mitchell has since archived the post after more negative comments began rolling in.)
However, the comments then became mixed with more critical and cynical observations. For one, people were taken aback by the optics of taking, and then sharing, professional-grade photos of her actual accident.
“This must have been super scary and I’m glad you’re okay, but... if my friend continued to take photos while I was lying semi-unconscious in the road, I’d be furious. I love your photos but it’s a little weird to include those,” one wrote.
“How are people commenting on this like it’s normal?” another wrote.
Some even accused her of posing for them.
To those accusations, Mitchell said that’s simply not true.
“Nothing about this was staged. I’m sad that some people are taking it that way, but it’s just not the case,” she said.
“I didn’t know she was taking them, but later on when she showed them to me I was so grateful that she captured such an intense moment for me.”
The post also made its way to Reddit’s /r/blogsnark subreddit, where one user wrote, “Genuinely I am perplexed by the idea of a friend snapping angles right next to your head post-motorcycle crash. What the fuck?!”
Her followers then began to question if the bottle of Smartwater was intentionally placed beside her as she was lying on the pavement. “Paid in partnership with Smartwater...” one commenter said cheekily.
Mitchell denied any paid or branded deal with the water company. Smartwater later confirmed to BuzzFeed News that they do not have a partnership with her.
“I would never turn a very important personal story like this into a brand campaign,” she stated, adding that “the water was given to me while I was resting.”
Mitchell maintains the post was well-intended.
“All motives for taking the photos and sharing them along with the details of the experience were good,” she said.
“I’m really sad that raising this topic without all the context may inspire negativity and hatred, but I did my best and hope whatever happens can add to people’s lives in some way.”