Arielle Charnas Cries Over Backlash from Her Tone-Deaf Coronavirus Response: 'We're Not Bad People'

The influencer and designer behind lifestyle and fashion brand Something Navy was called out for traveling to the Hamptons after finding out she tested positive for COVID-19

After coming under fire for leaving New York City while COVID-19 positive, fashion influencer Arielle Charnas is apologizing to her fans and followers, saying she “never in a million years wanted to hurt anyone.”

In a lengthy Instagram message, followed by several emotional Instagram Story videos, Arielle — who’s used her social media platform to build fashion and lifestyle brand Something Navy — addressed the fact that she did not self-isolate for 14 days after testing positive for the novel coronavirus on March 18. Instead, the influencer retreated to the Hamptons with husband Brandon Charnas and their two daughters, as documented on her Instagram account.

After sharing initial updates about her symptoms and the coronavirus testing process, Arielle seemingly made a quick recovery — she began posting TikTok videos and photos of herself enjoying the Hamptons sunshine with her family just days after revealing her diagnosis.

Fans were quick to call out the Something Navy founder for ignoring CDC-mandated self-quarantine guidelines and flaunting her “privilege” on social media (while many sick Americans complained about coronavirus testing restrictions, Arielle called on a doctor friend to diagnose her quickly and efficiently via a drive-through test at an urgent care facility in Manhattan that wasn’t offering the same convenient service to all patients).

On her Instagram Story on Thursday, she said through a stream of tears that she is “so sorry” and “never in a million years wanted to hurt anyone,” adding, “we’re not bad people.”

Arielle Charnas
Arielle Charnas. Arielle Charnas/Instagram

“I am not writing this to make excuses and I am not searching for validation; I want to share the truth behind the story and above all else, express my sincerest remorse,” Arielle wrote in an Instagram post. “I apologize to anyone that I unintentionally harmed in the course of my decision-making.”

She went on to admit that, as an influencer, she has capitalized off of “letting people into basically every part of my life,” which comes hand-in-hand with social media trolls. Still, the most recent backlash was more extreme — Arielle claims she received death threats against her entire family and was “accused of falsifying” her test results.

In response to those upset by the fact that a coronavirus testing kit was made readily available for her, Arielle said, “We count ourselves as being incredibly fortunate to have had such prompt access to medical care and understand that is far from the reality for the vast majority of people in this country.”

“I completely acknowledge I made mistakes throughout this process,” she continued, after explaining why she was still in close quarters with her children and nanny while COVID-19 positive. “I followed all of our doctor’s recommendations to a tee, which were also the recommendations put forth by the CDC.”

Although the time between when she tested positive (March 18) and the time she left her New York City home for the Hamptons did not equate to the CDC-recommended 14 days, Arielle clarified that she quarantined for 14 days “from the onset of symptoms on March 13.”

Before leaving Manhattan, the Charnas Family — including Arielle’s nanny, who chose to quarantine with them after also becoming ill — ensured that their symptoms had improved, that all four had been without a fever for 72 hours and that it had been at least seven days since their symptoms first appeared.

“We have since taken every measure to ensure we [do] not and will not come into further contact, six feet apart or otherwise, with any other individual for the foreseeable future,” she said. “Based on the facts available to us right now, as well as throughout our experience in the last several weeks, I’m confident this was the right move to reduce potential spread.”

Arielle concluded: “Through all of this, I’ve learned that the reality of the career and life path I’ve chosen for myself comes with a powerful responsibility. In times of crisis, opening up about every aspect of your life is hard…We all make mistakes, including me, especially when a crisis such as this is developing so quickly. My family and I are truly sorry to those we have offended for not appearing to be taking this crisis gravely seriously, and we are committed to making informed, responsible decisions moving forward.”

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. To help provide doctors and nurses on the front lines with life-saving medical resources, donate to Direct Relief here.

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