Disturbing comments by heartless trolls are overshadowing the outpouring of tributes towards Sinead Mcnamara, the 20-year-old Australian influencer who died while working on board a superyacht, reinforcing the need to address how people are treated online.
Sinead was found unconscious, tangled in ropes, on the yacht Mayan Queen IV in Greece, and later died en-route to hospital. There were no guests on board when the incident took place, only crew members. According to investigators, her death was a suspected suicide, but police are yet to officially determine how she died. It has been reported that Sinead made a distressed phone call to her mother less than 48 hours before her death detailing an ‘incident’ with another crew member. Another source has claimed the incident to be the consequences of a broken romantic relationship.
Since the news of her death, Sinead’s personal Instagram account has been ruthlessly targeted by trolls, accusing her of working in the sex industry, having a relationship with the boat owner, being involved with drugs, and ultimately “getting what she deserved”. Sinead has been labelled a “prostitute,” a “slut” and a “leach,” blamed for her death with one commenter writing: “She is dead because of her bad choices and the company she held.”
Having worked on board superyachts myself, Sinead’s heart-breaking story has deeply resonated with me. I’m not suggesting Sinead’s work life was necessarily linked to her death, but feel deeply empathetic towards her and know the trolls’ comments to be, aside from clearly unfounded, deeply misguided and insular. It angers me that not only has Sinead’s death been freely and publicly speculated on without any trace of sensitivity, but also that her hard work has been thrown in to doubt by clueless trolls who don’t know the first thing about her or the industry she worked in.
I know from personal experience how demanding and isolating it can be to work on board of a yacht. The hours are incredibly long and the work can be both emotionally and physically exhausting, without respite amongst family and friends. As a crewmember, you are not living the same glamorous life as the guests on board – a common misconception – but working tirelessly to facilitate theirs. It’s an industry of highly trained professionals with a zero tolerance on drug usage, amongst other strict rules regarding crew and guest relations.
I’m not saying working in the industry comes without its merits, nor that there aren’t strict regulations that prevent fatigue and other health and safety issues, but can equally understand how someone could become overwhelmed.
It takes a lot of resilience to work within the high pressure, and often claustrophobic setting that yachting encompasses. Living and working in such close proximity to others, over long periods of time, can heighten your emotional reactions and subsequently makes you more vulnerable to certain situations. Similarly, your relationships with those on board (whether good or bad) become intensified, making conflict incredibly stressful. The vast amount of self-motivation and dedication needed to work on yachts goes without question, and I know Sinead’s family and friends must be incredibly proud of all that she achieved thousands of miles from home.
Sinead is a passive victim of trolls, unable to defend herself. Regardless of the cause of her death, the trolling that she has received is incomprehensible to me, and shows just how dark the human race can turn once abdicated from responsibility by the internet. People’s compassion is eroding at the hands of their internet personas: personas that are blinding them from the human being behind the social media posts. A much-loved daughter, sister and friend.
I also can’t help wondering if a male influencer would be subjected to the same level of scrutiny. Why do the bikini photos of Sinead trigger such a vulgar level of slut-shaming and speculation? A friend of Sinead wrote to in response to the trolls:
“To all the horrible people thinking she did anything bad she hadn’t done a bad thing in her life this girl. She was best friends with my older brother and I’ve never known a sweeter girl. Yes, she showed off her body but why wouldn’t she? Girls are told to love your body exactly as it is. And that’s what she did. She loved everything about the world including herself.”
I feel deeply saddened and angered that Sinead’s family and friends have to witness such vile comments during their grief, and I’m astounded by the amount of disrespect the people who write such comments possess. Instagram death trolling is depraved and action needs to be taken.
Do you also think trolling has gone too far? Comment below.