Influencer Sam Cushing savaged for half-hearted ‘hollow apology’ after admitting he flew to Mexico for New Year’s

Sam Cushing criticised for travelling abroad

Gay influencer Sam Cushing is facing backlash from fans after he issued a half-hearted apology for flying abroad.

Cushing, who has more than 500,000 followers on Instagram, has a huge LGBT+ fanbase – but many felt let down when they discovered that he was one of many gay men who travelled to Mexico ahead of New Year’s Eve despite rising coronavirus hospitalisations.

The influencer was one of many gay men “exposed” by the anonymous GaysOverCovid Instagram account, which has been sharing information about influencers breaking coronavirus restrictions to attend parties and go on foreign holidays.

Cushing – who made his Instagram account private after he faced strident backlash for travelling abroad – issued an apology on his Instagram stories on Wednesday (13 January).

“After much introspection, it feels too strange to move forward without acknowledging recent comments,” Cushing wrote in the post, which was screenshotted and shared widely on social media.

“To those who were upset – I hear you, I really do. I apologise, and take full accountability. I’ll continue to take matters seriously, and promote mitigation measures as I always have (ie sanitation, masks, testing).

“Yes, I’ve felt the repercussions of my mistake and I’ll continue taking this time to reflect and learn.”

Cushing went on to deny that he attended any of the controversial circuit parties that took place in Puerto Vallarta in Mexico and in other resorts, claiming that he was instead holidaying abroad to celebrate a friend’s birthday.

Sam Cushing hit out at ‘false narratives’ around his Mexico holiday.

He wrote: “To those jumping to conclusions, here are the facts – December being my first time flying since the virus, I was advised before going that any risk to others/me was minimal after testing positive for antibodies and negative twice for COVID (PCR).

“Contrary to false narratives, I did not attend any large-scale ticketed events or bars (I was there to spend time for a close friend’s birthday). Regardless, I shouldn’t have gone.”

He concluded: “To the many who have sent concerned messages – thanks for the love. I appreciate you.”

Many were not impressed with Cushing’s apology on Twitter, with some criticising him for attempting to justify his travel plans.

Some disgruntled fans noted that Cushing has repeatedly urged his followers to carefully observe coronavirus restrictions by staying at home in the past, with many criticising him for not following his own advice.

Others simply suggested that his apology had come too late.

PinkNews has contacted Sam Cushing for comment.

Cushing’s apology comes after an anonymous Instagram account, called GaysOverCovid, started something of a “civil war” within the LGBT+ community after it shared information about queer men ignoring coronavirus advice and restrictions and attending parties abroad.

Some queer people have criticised the account, saying that publicly shaming gay men for flouting pandemic-related restrictions will not change their behaviour – however, a significant number of people have heaped praise on the anonymous vigilante for calling out bad behaviour that puts people’s health and wellbeing at risk.

An earlier version of this article said Sam Cushing apologised for flouting coronavirus restrictions by flying abroad. This was incorrect: he apologised for flying abroad but there are currently no restrictions on flying from the US into Mexico.