Prominent Influencers Are Facing Backlash For Throwing A Party In LA

Nikita Dragun, James Charles, and Tana Mongeau are among the influencers who were shown at the crowded party not wearing masks in a closed space.

LEFT: YouTuber James Charles. RIGHT: YouTuber Nikita Dragun | Getty Images
LEFT: YouTuber James Charles. RIGHT: YouTuber Nikita Dragun | Getty Images

Several popular influencers are facing backlash after appearing in videos on social media at a crowded party in an enclosed space during a pandemic. The party at a Los Angeles home was held as California has seen a resurgence in COVID-19 cases.

Nikita Dragun, a beauty YouTuber and influencer who has 7.7 million followers on Instagram, threw a party on Tuesday night for her friend and TikTok star Larray’s birthday, according to her posts. In videos on her and other influencers’ social media accounts, the party was shown in an enclosed space with crowds of people standing close to each other in defiance of social distancing guidelines and not wearing masks.

The party was reportedly held at the “Hype House,” a Los Angeles-based home that influencers, TikTok stars, and YouTubers frequent. Dragun called the event “the most insane surprise party ever” in an Instagram post. 

Other YouTube stars and influencers including Tana Mongeau and James Charles — who collectively have nearly 25 million followers on Instagram — also posted about being at the party. 

On Wednesday, YouTuber Tyler Oakley tagged several prominent partygoers on Twitter and asked that they “please consider social distancing, mask wearing, & using your huge platforms to encourage responsibility during a worldwide pandemic.”

When one commenter responded, “omg drag them,” Oakley responded, “not trying to drag them! just reaching out & hoping they feel encouraged to take everything a bit more seriously. getting through a pandemic takes teamwork. & people look to them for guidance!”

Larray, the only influencer of those Oakley tagged to respond, said “i understand 100% where ur coming from & it was a dumb thing to do. I will do better & will actually take this shit seriously. appreciate you tyler much love.”

A spokesperson for Dragun, who hosted the party, declined PEOPLE's request for comment. The other influencers tagged in Oakley's tweet reportedly received requests for comment from BuzzFeed News. Those influencers have not publicly posted about the criticism on social media as of Friday.

California has experienced an influx of COVID-19 cases, particularly Los Angeles County where Hype House is located. On Tuesday, when the party took place, more than 12,000 new cases were reported in the state. California now has a total of more than 425,000 cases, which is more than every U.S. state and all but four countries. More than 8,000 people have died of COVID-19 in the state.

Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) mandated mask-wearing in public last month, and has repeatedly urged California residents to stay home when they can and practice social distancing. 

After videos surfaced online of the party, several people criticized the influencers for being “selfish” and not following social distancing protocol.  

This isn’t the first time Oakley has called out influencers for their actions during the pandemic—controversial YouTube star Jake Paul came under fire for throwing a party at his Calabasas home earlier this month. Oakley chimed in by retweeting a video of the party saying “f**k you, @jakepaul.”