The writers of HBO’s hit miniseries, “Chernobyl,” are asking people to please stop taking half-naked, raunchy selfies at the actual Chernobyl site, in an effort to gain popularity on social media sites like Instagram.
Insider magazine reports that Instagram influencers have been flooding the Chernobyl nuclear site since the documentary premiered several weeks ago, seeking to capitalize on the popularity of the HBO series to boost their own brand profiles. As a result, Instagram is now peppered with photos of half-naked women and perfectly posed models, posing in front of burned out busses and melted buildings.
In one particularly egregious case, a female Instagram “influencer” even did a “nuclear striptease” for the camera at the site of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in the Ukraine, unzipping a white cloth biohazard suit in front of an abandoned and burned out building to reveal a pair of skimpy thong underwear beneath.
— Reel Review (@reelreviewnet) June 12, 2019
The problem began with the documentary itself, which spurred a wave of “disaster tourism” at the Chernobyl site in the Ukraine. Visits to the Chernobyl site — most of which is now available for tours, only decades after the nuclear reactor there melted down, destroying everything in its path — have spiked out of interest, with people flocking to the disaster zone to get a sense of the true story.
But, Insider reports, regular tourism is often accompanied, now, by Instagram tourism, and many of those visiting the Chernobyl site are anxious to get just the right ‘gram to get them attention on social media.
As a result, producers and writers for the show have issued a warning to potential Chernobyl tourists: please be respectful.
“It’s wonderful that #ChernobylHBO has inspired a wave of tourism to the Zone of Exclusion. But yes, I’ve seen the photos going around,” producer Craig Mazin said in a statement on social media. “If you visit, please remember that a terrible tragedy occurred there. Comport yourselves with respect for all who suffered and sacrificed.”
Chernobyl is, of course, the site of the famous nuclear meltdown in 1986 that took more than 30 lives immediately and countless more in the aftermath. More than 8 million people in Belarus, the Ukraine, and Russia were exposed to high levels of radiation as a result of the blast.
Most of the site is still considered radioactive, but a large portion of Chernobyl and the town of Pripyat are open to visitors. The World Nuclear Association declared the area “safe” in 2011, allowing those curious about the history to visit key sites, take tours, and snap photos. Pictures of Chernobyl’s long-abandoned amusement park — complete with ghostly Ferris wheel — are the most popular.
But there’s still danger for selfie-takers like the “nuclear striptease.” Those who visit Chernobyl are required to don either a “clean suit” or to wear long sleeves, long pants, and shoes to cover any exposed skin, just in case of contamination. Visitors are also warned not to touch any buildings or items, and to stay away from Chernobyl’s local flora and fauna out of an abundance of caution, since not all lingering effects are yet quantified.
Removing your clothes, for example, is a big no-no.