woman dressed as a nurse

@mikirai/Instagram

Influencer Miki Rai accused of pretending to be a frontline nurse for clout

'It's like a slap in the face.'

Aug 20, 2020, 8:40 am*

Internet Culture

 

Bryan Rolli

A social media influencer is being put on blast for allegedly lying about being a frontline healthcare worker during the COVID-19 pandemic to earn clout. 

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Miki Rai, a registered nurse based in California, has amassed a huge social media following by giving people an alleged glimpse into her life as a frontline nurse. Rai currently boasts 220,000 Instagram and 1.7 million TikTok followers. On both platforms, she posts videos wearing scrubs and a stethoscope, sharing tips and insights about her job while also posting daily workouts and viral challenges.

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Recently, though, other social media users have questioned Rai’s authenticity. On Aug. 1, TikToker @fr0ntline uploaded a video accusing Rai of “pretending to be a frontline worker just for TikTok/YT views” and “capitalizing on a pandemic.” @fr0ntline—who claims to be “an actual frontline nurse” in her TikTok bio—also links to a Reddit thread with articles and screenshots poking holes in the persona Rai has created. 

@fr0ntline

There’s NO excuse for pretending to be a frontline nurse. #nurse #frontline #covid #drama #miki #thankunext #fyp #fypシ

♬ thank u, next - Ariana Grande

The chief criticism is that Rai doesn’t actually work on the frontlines and has instead been working from home since the beginning of the pandemic. Rai claims to work in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Los Angeles’ UCLA Health hospital, but a hospital rep told BuzzFeed in April that Rai hadn’t worked there since 2019. In January, Rai uploaded a YouTube video titled “Day in the life | Working from home as a Nurse!” that casts further doubt on her employment status at UCLA Health. 

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As for the myriad scrubs-and-stethoscope photos Rai posts from various locations? The Reddit thread alleges those are fake, too, accusing Rai of posing in front of the Apple headquarters and local library and passing them off as medical locations. 

On TikTok, @fr0ntline further accused Rai of deleting comments on her posts that mention her working from home, while liking and replying to comments thanking her for being on the frontlines. 

Several TikTok and Reddit users who claimed to be actual frontline healthcare workers expressed their frustration with Rai’s posts.

“As a nurse who worked the first three months of the pandemic on the front line in the epicenter, I’m disgusted to see this,” one Redditor wrote. “It’s like a slap in the face.”

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*First Published: Aug 20, 2020, 8:36 am