She was once an onscreen journalist, but since an “unfortunate” racist incident on her Instagram saw her put on the desk, Georgia Love’s career has taken a turn. 

In September 2021, The Bachelorette star was chastised on social media for a seemingly racist post concerning a cat in a Chinese restaurant shop window.

The journalist-turned-reality star-turned-influencer apologised for the post and then took a social media break for a while before returning to launch the next range of her pyjama collection, Love by Georgia Elliot.

Georgia Love’s career took a turn after a seemingly racist post caused a huge uproar in September 2021. Source: Instagram.

Georgia was swiftly taken off brands she endorsed and her position at Channel 7 was revoked, a huge step down for the career journalist. Now, she’s taken a role in PR for storytelling agency Enthral.

That brings us to today.

Georgia Love and her husband, Bachelorette 2016 winner Lee Elliott have been teasing their audience about a trip they were about to take.

With borders opening up, many influencers are taking to the skies for one last hoorah before going back to their cramped offices and lifestyles. Georgia and Lee are no different.

Teasing, “where could we be going to?” “Where to next?” They upped their engagement with their loyal following guessing where they could be going: could it be Mauritius, Spain, England, New York? 

georgia love lee elliot
Georgia Love and Lee Elliott have caused a stir by being among the first tourists to Saudi Arabia. Source: Instagram

The answer surprised us all.

Georgia and Lee touched down in the once hermit nation of Saudi Arabia. If they wanted to make scroll-stopping content — mission accomplished.

Why is Saudi Arabia Controversial?

Saudi Arabia has been a hermit nation for many years before finally opening their borders to tourists in 2019, right before COVID kept us all at home.

But, the country is more than just a hermit nation. It’s one with a long history and continued issue of human rights violations — across the board. 

When it comes to women’s rights, Saudi Arabia is globally known for its lack of, well, that.

It was only in 2018, that Saudi women were granted the right to drive.

In 2019, women over 21 were given the freedom of travelling without their husband or father if they weren’t married and female “adulterers” were still subjected to being publicly stoned to death.

But that’s not all. Women in Saudi Arabia are still required to have a male guardian’s approval to get married, leave prison or obtain healthcare.

Women also face major discrimination in the courts when it comes to marriage, family, divorce, and custody of children.

In fact, men can file cases against wives, daughters or female relatives in relation to their “disobedience”, which can lead to home imprisonment or jail time. 

What About for the LGBTQI+ Community in Saudi Arabia?

The LGBTQI+ community is strictly not allowed in Saudi Arabia with homosexual and transgender people being seen as immoral and that they are engaging in indecent activities.

Those who engage in these so-called “indecent activities” are subjected to fines, public whippings, beatings, torture, chemical castration and imprisonment for life. 

Punishment In Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia still performs public executions. Built in 2011, Deera Square became the central place for these to take place.

More often than not, the punishment is beheadings, although it will sometimes involve the removal of hands and feet of thieves.

Colloquially known as “Chop Chop Square”, at unannounced times, the area will be cleared for a public execution to take place in front of a “live audience.”

“Chop Chop Square”, known for its public executions, is cleared for a “live audience.” Source: Justice In Saudi Arabia.

The country also has a long going feud with Yemen.

The Saudi military has continued to carry out scores of unlawful airstrikes on Yemeni villages, leading to the death of thousands of innocent women and children civilians.

Most recently, on March 12 2022, Saudi Arabia mass executed 81 people (eight children included).

The country’s largest execution in years, despite its wavering promise that it would slow down on beheadings.

It’s no wonder that up until 2019, this hermit nation had kept its borders closed, as the practices became more prolific. 

Georgia Love and Lee Elliott’s Saudi Arabia Trip

As Georgia and Lee landed in Saudi Arabia, they were met with intense criticism from their once-adoring fans.

People from the LGBTQI+ community questioned their motives for supporting a country that would execute them, and others asked if they knew about the atrocities that Saudi Arabia was committing on a global scale. 

“It’s disappointing you’ve bought into this paid partnership. They are paying so many influencers to promote the country.” one comment read.

“Meanwhile they committed mass execution last week, have horrific human rights abuses, not to mention what they are doing in Yemen.” 

To which Georgia responded, “not a paid partnership.”

georgia love and lee elliott
Georgia responded to a comment left on her Instagram, saying that this was not a “paid partnership”. Source: Instagram.

But, here’s the problem.

The issue isn’t that Georgia and Lee’s trip may or may not be sponsored by the Saudi Government, it’s that they are there at all.

There were two choices here for the influencer couple.

  1. They were paid to promote a country that continues to abuse human rights, or
  2. They are lining the pockets of a country that continues to abuse human rights. 

Georgia Love and Lee Elliott’s Saudi Arabia Trip Backlash

The backlash for Georgia and Lee came in thick and fast.

People questioned whether or not it was a paid trip, as the couple continued to tag @visitsaudi #VisitSaudi in all their posts.

They were “wined” (alcohol is strictly forbidden in Shariah Law) and dined with a group of other influencers. 

By all the clues, the trip looked sponsored. But, perhaps it wasn’t.

Perhaps this has been gifted to the couple? However, whether or not the trip has been paid for remains unimportant.

georgia love lee elliot
The backlash for Georgia and Lee came in thick and fast. Source: Instagram.

What Georgia, Lee and their other influencer travel buddies are doing, is exposing the most curated version of a very controversial country.

If they don’t think that every moment and every expression is a highly edited version of what Saudi Arabia really is like, then they are only embarrassing themselves.

The backlash also came for Georgia, as a journalist, who should definitely have known better.

If this was naively booked by someone, perhaps, a little less worldly or educated, would our anger be misdirected? Perhaps. But Georgia and Lee are privy to information and news. And, by their own claims, they did their research.

How Did Georgia and Lee Respond to the Criticism?

On Thursday, March 17, the pair quickly stripped their feeds and Instagram stories of the trip. What followed was a statement from Lee on his Instagram stories, re-shared onto Georgia’s story.

The statement lacked an apology, which wasn’t the only issue.

The glaring admission that Lee stated that the “World is changing for the better”. That felt the most misdirected.

As tensions between Russia and Ukraine reach boiling point, the sensitivity for conflict globally is at an all time high. 

Lee also stated that Saudi Arabia had “changed a lot in recent years”.

Of course, he failed to mention the mass beheadings that took place less than one week ago.

If you want to not endorse something, the way to not endorse it is to not pay for it. It’s to not continue to line the already full pockets of a corrupt government.

With the world waking up from a two-year slumber, and our border restrictions lifting, surely a trip to somewhere with even a slightly less controversial and bloody history — and present — is the solution. It can’t be that hard to find.

As Georgia starts a new career in PR, perhaps overhauling her own public image should be the first thing she does as another controversial move could spell the end of a short-lived career.

Or perhaps this is, as she wanted to do, be all part of “storytelling”.

Want even more goss? Listen to episode 154 of the So Dramatic! podcast with Megan Pustetto below!

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