- Creator Smac McCreanor shared an angry voice note from an influencer in a viral TikTok this weekend.
- In the note, an influencer expressed anger over being denied studio time in exchange for exposure.
- Fans believe the note is from Fashion Nerd Amy Roiland, who has since turned comments off on her TikTok.
Sarah “Smac” McCreanor, an LA-based studio owner, shared an angry voice note from an unnamed influencer to TikTok this weekend that quickly went viral and demonstrated how the influencer industry has created a culture of entitlement.
McCreanor runs Billy Studios, a rent-by-the-hour studio space in Los Angeles that’s frequently used by influencers and other creatives for photo shoots. She said she’d recently been contacted by an influencer who requested to come in and use the space for a 20-minute photo shoot with her daughter.
“This is a real voice note an influencer left on my studio business IG when I said no to her using our space for free,” the on-screen text read as McCreanor did a comedic dance. (McCreanor is also an accomplished dancer and actor with more than 3 million followers). The influencer voice note videos no longer appear on McCreanor’s account, but you can view a compilation of her related TikToks here.
“I asked to come there for twenty minutes to shoot something with my daughter, and that’s disappointing?” the influencer can be heard saying. “For free? When I charge a lot of money for postings, and we get like twelve million hits on our TikTok, and we do really well, actually, with video here, and that’s disappointing? … That’s crazy. Who runs this account? Are you ninety years old and not know how influencers work? That’s hilarious. You guys are really out of touch, it’s crazy.”
The influencer, believed by many viewers to be fashion influencer Amy Roiland, suggested exposure would be compensation for studio time. “I asked, ‘oh, can I shoot there for 20 minutes with my daughter to do a viral video and like, support you guys, and post you around, and people will book your studio because it’s colorful and very on-brand for me — they will book your studio,’ and then you wrote, ‘oh, it’s so disappointing that you’re asking for a collaboration.’ Influencers collaborate.”
Obsessed with this influencer drama- the rude one is AFashionNerd and the funny thing is she didn’t realize the studio owner has more than double her followers and like 10x the amount of likes pic.twitter.com/mUmU157uXN
— erb (@bentleyliz2) November 13, 2022
Roiland, who ran the blog “Fashion Nerd” and now runs popular A Fashion Nerd TikTok and Instagram accounts, typically posts hyper-colorful lifestyle content featuring her young daughter. Roiland is also the sister of “Rick and Morty” creator Justin Roiland, a detail that has been circulating TikTok after TikToker @panamakinnell said she once received an out-of-the-blue DM from Roiland stating as much.
In follow-up videos, McCreanor shared a screenshotted conversation conducted over Instagram DMs with the influencer.
In it, McCreanor refused the influencer’s request for free studio time, explaining that the studio only accepts paying clients for all bookings. After the influencer countered the denial with her content’s reach — “we have 15 million likes on TikTok now and 600k fans,” reads the DM — the studio again refused.
“As artists ourselves, we always encourage the community to support each other by doing business professionally,” the response read in part. “… as artists we would never ask for free work from the community and so cannot allow others to do that to us, especially with influencers of your caliber being in such a lucrative career. Knowing that you have continuously asked multiple studios for free time is unfortunately disappointing.”
The disgruntled influencer reportedly spammed McCreanor’s various accounts with complaints. McCreanor shared a slideshow of angry reviews and emails she said the influencer made in response — on the studio’s website (it’s unclear if the complaint was lodged publicly or privately, and Insider was unable to verify the post on McCreanor’s studios’ Peerspace accounts), an email sent to McCreanor’s personal email account, and a DM sent from her daughter’s Instagram account.
The Billy Studio declined to comment.
“As a business owner, you should really be kind always and deflect… wouldn’t have hurt you to say a kind thing about me and how aligned we are and you would check and see and leave it at that,” read a note McCreanor said the influencer sent to her personal email.
“I will also make sure my famous blogger friends and my famous musician friends know how rude you were and to never ever book your space or refer it…” the email continued.
Twitter user and Youtube creator Amanda Golka told Insider she noticed Roiland’s TikTok account was active when the video was first posted on Saturday but was deactivated by Sunday evening. Currently, Roiland’s account is once again active, though comments are turned off. Roiland hasn’t responded to multiple requests for comment.
fashion influencer Amy Roiland has deleted her tiktok following the release of a voice note she sent to a studio that wouldn’t let her shoot there for free pic.twitter.com/HYJwKxa2bt
— ✨amanda✨ (@luvu2golka) November 13, 2022
TikToker @lyddiecattt said in a November 14 TikTok that, as a longtime follower, she was disappointed by Roiland’s actions and expressed that (likely via a comment on Roiland’s TikTok). She told viewers that Roiland left a response on her most recent post on November 13 after she’d turned comments off on her own account. (Insider has verified the comments were left by Roiland’s account).
“Upset and yes I went off and shouldn’t have … I agree … but he was so mean towards me for no reason…” the comments read. “You’re only seeing one side of the story; sucks, I wish I could tell mine, she was soooo rude, so mean towards me. My grandpa just died I’ve been so …”
Some influencers believe their follower counts warrant special privileges
Influencers have often been called out for expecting free stays, free meals, or VIP treatment in exchange for exposure.
In 2018, after influencer Elle Darby attempted to score a free stay at Dublin’s White Moose Hotel in exchange for publicity, the hotel banned all bloggers and influencers from the business.
Earlier this year, a pair of Australian micro-influencers were slammed after they asked for a comped meal in exchange for posts on their Instagram account, which had around 2,600 followers at the time.
“Apologies for the delay. I’ve been grappling with how much rage to demonstrate/throw in your direction,” the owner wrote in response. “Reaching out blind to a venue you know nothing about looking for free stuff is shitty enough thing to do at the best of times,” continued the owner, who Insider identified via LinkedIn as Luke Bresnan. “But it’s even worse when COVID is still very much a thing, affecting small businesses like us devastatingly for two years now.”
The story helped popularize the hashtag #couscous for comment, used to shame Australian influencers who asked for free meals in exchange for social media posts.
So far, Roiland does not appear to have made any explicit public response to the controversy.