A controversial influencer dubbed the ‘poster child for what not to do in a pandemic’ received $350,000 in coronavirus relief funds for her relaunched fashion line.
Arielle Charnas, 33, has 1.3 million Instagram followers, runs a brand which is valued at $45 million and is believed herself to be worth around $2.5 million
Yet it was reported that she took advantage of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans for her brand Something Navy.
PPP loans are forgivable loans of public money to help smaller businesses to continue to pay their employees throughout the coronavirus crisis, which has seen unemployment reach record levels.
Page Six reports that Charnes got a loan of $150,000 to $350,000 through JPMorgan and Chase on April 13, 10 days after the loan program launched.
Charnas relaunched her fashion brand – Something Navy – on July 13, and grossed $1 million in just 30 minutes, according to the influencer and the brand’s CEO Matt Scanlan.
‘The velocity and speed of sales totally broke our back end,’ Scanlan said on the Glossy Podcast.
The loan was made to Something Navy, registered to her home in New York City. She said that she retained 25 employees in her application.
Before the re-launch, the brand sold exclusively on Nordstrom, but it now sells directly to consumers, and harnesses Charnas’ influencer presence to market its products.
The re-launch was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but Something Navy is now operating after a $10 million funding round, which valued the business at roughly $45 million.
Hong Kong billionaire Silas Chou, along with Box Group, M3 Ventures, Silas Capital, Third Kind Venture Capital and Rent the Runway co-founder Jennifer Fleiss are all investors in the brand.
In March, she drew public outrage when she used her connections to get a coronavirus test – when many found it near-impossible to obtain one.
Charnas revealed that she had called in a favor from a doctor friend to get a COVID-19 test — despite shortages across the country.
The test came back positive. In the following days Charnas, her two children and their nanny traveled to her mansion in the Hamptons, where she posted pictures of herself outside next to a pool, writing ‘Fresh air’ in one of the captions.
After facing criticism online, while still posting videos and images of herself out and about in public, the influencer took to her Instagram account to issue an apology.
She also shared her horror and upset over the backlash she and her family have faced, revealing they have even ‘received death threats’
In a series of Instagram Stories videos believed to have been taken at the Hamptons home, the influencer tearfully apologizing to her ‘community’ for any upset caused.
‘I just wanted to come on here and say, I’m sorry. I never in a million years wanted to hurt anyone, and we’re not bad people,’ she said, breaking down in tears as she spoke.
‘I’m sorry for anyone that I’ve offended or hurt over the last couple of weeks. We’re just trying to navigate through this difficult time as I’m sure so many people are, and I’m just sorry that I let down my community in any way.’
She then went on to reveal the toll that the backlash has taken on her family, opening up about the threats that they have received in the wake of the controversy.
‘Right now I’m just trying to focus on my family because we’ve been receiving horrible threats,’ she said. ‘I just felt it was time for me to share my truth, which I did, and it’s now out…
‘I’ve made every effort to do the right thing throughout this process and I just hope that you all can see that despite the mistakes that I’ve made.
‘I’m thinking of you all and I hope everyone stays safe and healthy.’
She then addressed the bitter backlash over her admittance that her children’s nanny had also contracted the virus while working with the family, insisting that she and her husband had not been ‘recommended childcare guidelines to help them figure out how to care for their girls.’
Charnas added that their nanny was given the option to return home, but said she chose to quarantine with the Charnas’ rather than risk ‘potentially infecting others’ — insisting that the childcare provider is ‘part of the family’ and would have been paid whether or not she had stayed on working.
The emotional apologies came just days after a Twitter user called Sophie Ross documented the many controversial decisions that the influencer had made over in a viral thread on the social media site.
In her tweets, Sophie documented how Charnas fanned the flames of online fury by traveling with her entire family to a rental home in the Hamptons, completely ignoring calls for a 14-day self-quarantine after she tested positive in the midst of the crisis in New York.