Revolve raft-up organisers claim authorities were aware of the event – The Royal Gazette | Bermuda News, Business, Sports, Events, & Community

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Revolve raft-up organisers claim authorities were aware of the event

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Matthew Strong and Selange Gitschner, owners of Dasfete (File photograph by Meredith Andrews)
Rosewood Bermuda, where the Revolve group of about 70 people stayed while on a marketing trip (File photograph)

The organisers of a controversial raft-up that involved US high fashion firm Revolve and guest influencers today claimed the Government and tourism authorities were aware of the event.

A statement from Victoria Greening, a lawyer, issued on behalf of Dasfete, said the raft-up was “not for recreational purposes, but rather a staged commercial event under the auspices, permission and knowledge of the Bermuda Tourism Authority and other relevant Government departments with the view to promoting and marketing Bermuda”.

Dasfete insisted: “All Covid-19 protocol requirements were met.

“We have now also met and co-operated with the authorities.”

The news came after a row erupted in the wake of video footage of the event, held last Tuesday, was posted on social media.

Raft-ups are banned under Covid-19 restrictions and the incident is now being investigated by police.

The boat trip was organised for Revolve, a US online fashion retailer that brought about 70 models and influencers to the island earlier this month as part of a marketing drive.

The Bermuda Tourism Authority said last week that it assisted with organisers’ administrative filings, including group exemption applications for photo-shoots and “on-site destination support for influencers’ social media activities”.

But the BTA insisted the applications did not include permission for a raft-up.

Renee Ming, the Ministry of National Security, said a police investigation into the event was under way.

David Burt, the Premier, tweeted on June 9 that images of what appeared to be an illegal event, which included a live performance by reggae star Shaggy, breached pandemic restrictions.

Rosewood Bermuda, where the Revolve group of about 70 people stayed, yesterday said it had nothing to do with the event.

A spokeswoman for the hotel said it had “been made aware of an incident involving Revolve Group during an off-property outing in Bermuda”.

She added: “The incident did not occur at Rosewood Bermuda nor did the resort have any involvement in the events that the group participated in outside of the property.”

The spokeswoman said the hotel was granted a large group exemption from Renee Ming, the national security minister, to accommodate the Revolve Group from June 5 to June 11.

She added: “Rosewood Bermuda is adhering to all Covid-19 health guidelines and is continuing to follow all regulations set forth by Bermuda’s Ministry of National Security.”

Revolve has not responded to questions about the raft-up.

But it posted a statement on its Instagram account that all measures were taken to ensure a safe trip.

The Bermuda Tourism Authority said last week that it assisted with organisers’ administrative filings, including group exemption applications for photo-shoots and “on-site destination support for influencers’ social media activities”.

But it added that the applications did not include permission for a raft-up.

Ms Ming said she had asked for a police investigation into the incident.

She added a large group gathering exemption was granted to the organisers of the event, but rules were in force that attendees had to follow.

David Burt, the Premier, tweeted on June 9 that images of what appeared to be an illegal event, which included a live performance by reggae star Shaggy, were not in line with pandemic restrictions.

Raft-ups are banned under Covid-19 restrictions.

Mr Burt said that he had asked Ms Ming to liaise with police.

An exemption was granted to Selange Gitschner, the founder and creative director of island event organiser Dasfete, for a “Yacht Day” on June 8.

The approval was for people who were vaccinated or had a recent clear coronavirus test in line with the Government’s SafeKey programme.

But the approval notice said the event was scheduled to be held at the Unfinished Church in St George’s.

Fashion world eyes Bermuda

Idyllic images of Bermuda have been seen by millions of social media users around the world as a result of Revolve’s trip to the island.

The event has generated positive PR – but some have criticised the raft-up and others said the trip was inappropriate during a pandemic.

Revolve, cofounded by billionaires Michael Mente and Mike Karanikolas, has 4.6m Instagram followers and the influencers who travelled to the island can muster millions more.

Rosewood Bermuda was featured in an Instagram story – a series of photographs and videos – designed to promote the #revolvearoundtheworld trip.

Individual influencers’ accounts also highlighted the island.

Camila Coelho, a Brazilian-American fashion and beauty businesswoman, has 8.9m followers on Instagram.

She tagged Bermuda in several photographs, including one of her sunbathing on a deckchair which attracted more than 189k likes.

Photos she posted on her Instagram page that tagged Bermuda attracted about 790,000 likes.

A post by Ms Coelho at Rosewood Bermuda reached 27,000 people and had 127 comments most of which were positive emojis such as smiley faces.

Devin Brugman, co-founder of Monday Swimwear, has 1.3m followers.

A video tagged Bermuda of her on a boat attracted more than 88,000 likes.

A post by Revolve of a dinner at the Unfinished Church in St George’s attracted more than 12,000 likes.

But it also got close to 200 comments – many of them critical the company’s conduct in Bermuda.

@kelsey__jean commented: "We’re listening and we're sorry" statement coming in 3 … 2 … 1 …“ in an apparent reference to Revolve.

@marajthehealer wrote: “Hopefully you all do some good out of this situation. Your customers are watching your next steps.”

@bellawmurd wrote: “Ridiculous and tone deaf to come on a promotional trip bringing tons of ‘influencers’ to roam our small island and have raft ups, all the while we continue to have Covid deaths and cases.

“Local Bermudian shops have just been able to open back up so I can only hope you give them all business.“

Many of the posts pointed out that the island only had one hospital.

Some falsely claimed that that there was a shortage of Covid-19 vaccinations and that Bermuda was still in lockdown.

The Government last month flew 9,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Trinidad & Tobago by private jet because it had more doses than it was likely to use.

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Published June 15, 2021 at 7:59 am (Updated June 15, 2021 at 7:36 am)

Revolve raft-up organisers claim authorities were aware of the event

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