A social media influencer defended herself on Wednesday after being criticized for sharing photos of herself posing in front of her father’s open coffin.
In the photos, Jayne Rivera, 20, wore a fitted black blazer dress with one sleeve as she stood near her father’s coffin, adorned with an American flag. She posed with her hands in prayer in a photo.
Rivera, from Florida, told NBC News in an interview that she “understood the negative reception,” but said the photos were taken “with the best of intentions in a way my father would have approved if he was still alive “.
“Everyone handles the loss of a loved one in their own way; some are more traditional while others may seem taboo,” the content creator said in a statement Wednesday. “For me, I treated the celebration as if my dad was right next to me, posing for the camera like he had done several times before.”
Rivera said she posted the photos to Instagram on the same day they were taken, Sunday, more than a week after her father died on October 11.
“Butterflies fly away. Rip Papi, you were my best friend. A life well lived,” Rivera confirmed, she wrote in the post.
The photos generated a quick reaction on social media.
“Did I mention the problem of a narcissistic and performative culture? Twitter user wrote.
Someone else tweeted: “Is it really worth having kids?”
Rivera defended her decision to release the photos, saying, “There is nothing wrong with what I posted, and I stand by it.”
While many denounced her decision to share the photos on social media, some noted the outcry was just as callous as the post itself.
“It’s not what I would have done, even though grief is a strange thing”, one Twitter user wrote. “Maybe blowing this girl up on the day of her father’s funeral is something you could have chosen not to do.”
Because she is a “full-time influencer,” Rivera explained that her father was featured in her Instagram Stories regularly and it was appropriate for her followers to know that he was gone.
“I have worked extremely hard for eight long years to build my audience,” she said. “People on the outside judge a book by its cover without stopping to understand the book’s underlying intentions or meanings.”
She also claimed that Instagram deactivated her account “for no reason,” adding that she contacted the photo-sharing app for clarity as she said “no community guidelines had been infringed during the publication of the photos “.
Instagram did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.
His Instagram account was unavailable Wednesday afternoon, but his TikTok account, which garnered more than 300,000 followers, was still active.
“People won’t agree anyway, and I’m used to it. I’m a Rivera, and I know my dad is proud of me and the way things have turned out,” a- she declared. “He will not be forgotten.”
His father, Jose Antonio Rivera, died on October 11, two days after his 56th birthday.