An American woman who moved to Bali last year is facing deportation after promoting the sale of an e-book she wrote with her girlfriend to help others move to Indonesia.
Kristen Gray and her girlfriend, Saundra, had been living in Bali for more than a year as “digital nomads.”
It wasn’t until a Twitter thread she posted Saturday about her experience in Bali, while promoting the sale of the couple’s e-book, Our Bali Life Is Yours, that backlash started brewing.
The original tweets which sparked the frenzy can be founded here:
For anyone curious about the deleted/hidden Bali thread pic.twitter.com/FYA3mRcMNf
— Salt chip (@gastricslut) January 17, 2021
The thread sparked massive outrage among Indonesians and the wider Southeast Asian community. They said Gray was encouraging an influx of Westerners to travel to a country that has closed its borders to foreigners over the worsening COVID-19 situation.
It’s unclear if the couple paid any income taxes to the Indonesian government while working in Bali, but Saundra had suggested in a tweet that they were only paying taxes in the US because they were earning US dollars.
As OneZero reported last year, many foreigners work and stay in Bali on a tourist visa to avoid paying income taxes to the Indonesian government. The law requires those who want to work to obtain an official permit, but many who work remotely maintain tourist or other temporary visas against the government’s requirements, and earn foreign currency that they declare in their home country.
Many who have defended Gray say she is facing this level of criticism because she is a Black woman, and the responses to Indonesians calling out Gray have also been inundated with racist and xenophobic insults. Others have pointed to outrage over incidents involving white and other non-Black tourists.
In a statement announcing Gray’s deportation on Tuesday, the Indonesian government said that she had extended her visa in December, and it was due to expire on Jan. 24.
Her remarks about Bali being queer-friendly and her attempt to encourage people to travel to the country during the pandemic were unsettling to the public, the government said. She also conducted business through selling her e-book and offering consultations for moving to Bali, which authorities said was against the law.
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