Cringe! 6 Humiliating Celebrity Travel Instagram Fails

Cringe! 6 Humiliating Celebrity Travel Instagram Fails

Kourtney Kardashian, Madonna, Beyonce, and Selena Gomez all make the dubious list.

By Karen Gardiner

Travel is one of Instagram's most popular themes — we all like to show off the far-flung locales where we've ventured. Celebrities are just like us, of course — except that unlike mere mortals, an Instagram-based faux pas — like incorrectly naming one of the world's most famous landmarks — does not fly quietly under the radar. Check out some cringe-worthy celebrity social media sharing fails that fans were quick to pounce on.

1. Priyanka Chopra

Posting selfie from Berlin's somber Holocaust memorial cannot go well. Incredibly, it is a practice so prevalent that the Berlin-based Israeli artist Shahak Shapira made the news earlier this year for his Yolocaust project, which superimposed Instagrams of people frolicking around the memorial with images from Auschwitz. Shapira closed the project when the offending selfie-takers wrote to him to apologize, yet take a look at the Instagram geotag for Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, or Berlin Holocaust Memorial and you'll see that the practice infuriatingly persists. Enter the actress Priyanka Chopra. This May she paid a visit to the memorial while promoting Baywatch and felt compelled to update her Instagram story by posing in front of the concrete slabs. Sure, its not quite as egrarious as the jugglers and yoga posers seen in the Yolocaust project but, as Quartz notes, "it is considered disrespectful to pose amid the expanse of 2,711 stone slabs, representative of the gravestones of 6 million Jews murdered and buried in mass graves during Adolf Hitler’s reign."

Related: that one time Justin Bieber suggested teen Holocaust victim Anne Frank would have been a Belieber. (Cringe.)

2. Mischa Barton

There's the intentionally offensive and just plain ignorant Instagram posts like Chopra's, and then there's the earnest but spectacularly tone deaf. Following the police killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castille last summer, several celebrities reacted with thoughtful messages across social media. Mischa Barton, on the other hand, posted a photograph of herself wearing a bikini on yacht with the caption: “I’m truly heartbroken to watch videos like the #AltonSterling execution." Good sentiment, poorly delivered. She soon deleted the post and said she was sorry "if my Instagram post went out of context," because she "didn't mean to offend anyone."

3. Beyoncé and Jay-Z

Beyoncé, Jay Z & Blue #Thailand

A post shared by Beyoncé (@beylite) on

Most worldly travelers know better than to perpetuate the cruelty that is inflicted upon animals by mass tourism. Surprisingly, though, it's a consideration that seems to have passed by the mega-rich well-traveled power couple of Beyoncé and Jay-Z. In 2015 the couple were pictured feeding a tiger cub in Phuket, Thailand, prompting Dr. Jan Schmidt-Burbach, a wildlife expert with World Animal Protection, to issue a statement saying: "Many tourists unwittingly contribute to the suffering of wild animals like these. They're simply not aware that their 'once in a lifetime' photo means a lifetime of misery for that animal." As the Dodo explained, many of the tigers living in so-called tourist attractions have been separated from their mothers at a young age, and are beaten during training. They often live for up to 20 hours each day in tiny cages or chained to the floor. Some are even drugged so that they will be receptive to tourists who want to take photos near them."

This wasn't even the first time Beyoncé had been called out for animal cruelty. Just a week earlier earlier she was pictured riding a baby elephant.

4. Selena Gomez

We're not sure what she was going for here, but Selena Gomez' Instagram photos taken in Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque were swiftly met with condemnation from those who said she was being disrespectful toward Muslim customs. In the first, she is pictured smiling inside the mosque while hiking up her long skirt to reveal her ankles and a flash of calf. The second shows her amid a group of friends including Kendall Jenner laughing it up inside the mosque. Both were widely seen as disrespectful and both have been removed. 

5. Kourtney Kardashian

Island ting.

A post shared by Kourtney Kardashian (@kourtneykardash) on

No Instagram list could be complete without a Kardashian, so perhaps the only surprise here is that Kourtney's contribution may be the least offensive in the pile of celebrity travel fails. In January, she was understandably excited to escape the winter and head south for some sun and sea. Unfortunately, by hashtagging her humblebrag of an Instagram post with #IslandTing, she revealed that she may not have done much preliminary trip research: She was in Costa Rica, which is not an island. 

6. Madonna

Hashtags, emojis, hitting the right note of sentiment: There are a lot of details celebrities must mind when updating their Instagram accounts, so perhaps it's forgivable that the little things like geographical awareness can slip through the cracks. Just ask Madonna, who caught flak for including a stray Kenyan flag emoji in a post from Malawi. 

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