Influencers Face Deportation from Bali After Painted-On Face Mask Prank

Two influencers in Bali recorded themselves going to new extremes in order to avoid complying with COVID-19 mask guidelines—all under the pretense of creating entertaining content for their followers. Now, however, they're facing the harsh consequences of their actions, including the possibility of deportation.

Josh Paler Lin and Leia Se are the two influencers behind the video, which appears to have been taken down from their social media accounts but has since been reposted elsewhere.

Clips of the video show the pair attempting to enter a Bali supermarket, where they are refused entrance because Se is not wearing a mask. In order to evade the policy, they return to their car, where Lin uses makeup to paint the appearance of a blue surgical mask onto Se's face. The end product does look somewhat like a real mask, complete with white trim and straps, so long as Se doesn't open her mouth.

With the painted-on mask, the pair pass the store's security guard easily. As they walk through the store, they try to avoid suspicion. "You can't talk," Lin tells her.

"I can't believe this works," he says.

The video, which appears to have been first posted earlier this month, sparked immediate backlash. According to Coconuts Bali, Lin and Se, who are Taiwanese and Russian nationals respectively, now face the possibility of deportation from Bali. Their passports have reportedly been seized by authorities already.

In Bali, foreign nationals who are caught defying mask regulations face a fine of IDR1 million, or US $68.76. After a second violation, the foreign national may be deported.

However, this case presents a unique situation, in that Lin and Se were not merely caught without masks: they posted the incident on social media to entertain their massive following. Lin's Instagram account, for example, currently has over 300,000 followers, and he has over 3 million subscribers to his YouTube channel.

"They are not only violating, but deliberately provoking in public, so it's only proper to sanction them more severely, not just with a fine but also deportation," said the head of Satpol PP Bali, the area's police force, reported Coconuts Bali.

While the influencers' fates are still unclear, they seem to have gained clarity regarding the severity of their actions. In a video posted to Instagram on Friday, Lin and Se are filmed formally apologizing for their actions alongside an attorney.

"We want to apologize for the video that we made," says Se.

Lin continues, saying that the video was never intended to "disrespect" or "invite" people to disregard mask guidelines. "I made this video to entertain people because I'm a content creator, and it is my job to entertain people," he said. "However, I did not realize that what I did could actually bring a lot of negative comments...and...raise a lot of concerns."

Lin and Se say they "promise not to do it again."

Hoping to clarify their intentions, Lin adds, "I would like to invite everyone in Indonesia and Bali to always wear [a] mask for our own safety and health."

Discarded Mask
As the pandemic continues to rage globally, masks are still an essential tool for slowing the virus' spread. Horacio Villalobos/Getty Images