Nick Bellinger of Orange County, California was a photographer for photo shoot in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in California that utilized smoke bombs and posted those photos to Instagram. When multiple people let @nickbellinger know that smoke bombs are illegal in all California State Parks (as clearly outlined on the CA Parks website), what did he do? Apologize? Take the photo down? Edit the caption to inform his followers that the actions pictured were illegal? Nope.
Instead of acting like a responsible adult and admitting that he might have made a mistake, Nick changed the geotag from "Anza-Borrego Desert State Park" where the photo was taken to "Your Mom's House", deleted any comments mentioning the illegal behavior, blocked anyone leaving comments questioning the behavior, and went as far as to DM "You're an idiot. Stay off my page." to one commenter.
But don't take our word for it, see for yourself with the screenshots below.
Image w/ "Updated" Geotag
A Thoughtful DM Response From Nick About His Illegal Behavior
Nick's DM Response to One Person Who Left a Comment on his Illegal Content
Deleted Comments on the Photo Part 1
Deleted Comments on the Photo Part 2
Deleted Comments on the Photo Part 3
Deleted Comments on the Photo Part 4
It's impossible to know the laws everywhere we visit and we all make mistakes. That's ok. But actively deleting comments and blocking people who ask you to respect the law and public lands? Changing the geotag of your photo to "Your Mom's House" to hide the evidence of your crime from authorities? Leaving up illegal content that could encourage others to engage in illegal and harmful behavior? (A smoke bomb is what started the Eagle Creek Fire in Oregon.) Nick Bellinger is not someone I would want representing my products or my company.
Nick, when you read this, remember, mistakes are ok! It's how you handle them that shows true character. This list ever changing and the title of this page could easily say "Influencer acknowledges mistake and helps others learn how to respect our public lands!". If you ever want to chat about this incident and take steps towards promoting the respect and protection of public lands, send me a email.