Kristen Gray, the American digital nomad who sparked controversy after tweeting about moving to Bali and was subsequently deported from Indonesia, took to Facebook last night to write a public apology, saying that her Twitter thread was “a mistake.”
The post, which was published on a public, Bali-based Facebook group, appears to be the first time Gray has directly addressed the controversy herself in writing. She began by declaring her wish of taking accountability and providing her perspective of the situation.
“Regarding my tweets that went viral and the Indonesian people I have offended, it was never my intention to disrespect Indonesia culture, especially Balinese culture. I made a public Twitter thread about my experience and it was a mistake,” Gray wrote.
Gray said her tweets were picked apart, misinterpreted, and misconstrued via translation, but that she takes “full accountability for the poor wording and the privileged language in my tweets.”
“I am sorry for the spreading of this information. I did not intend to go viral,” she added, further noting that she only had about 600 followers when she published the thread on Jan. 16.
Gray claims she has been on the receiving end of hate speech every day, even after she has been deported from Indonesia.
With her Twitter thread having sparked a series of convoluted — but important — discussions across a variety of subjects, including gentrification and neo-colonialism, she said she has since learned a lot and is happy to have been made an example “for other Westerners to learn from.”
In addition, Gray also clarified that she never made any claims about her race or intended to incite a virtual race war, and said that she was never hunted or arrested by Indonesian intelligence or immigration; debunking some misinformation that appears to have arisen from the controversy earlier this month.
“I left Bali being charged for ZERO crimes, and ZERO taxes or fines. I was suspected of unsettling the public with my statements and my punishment was deportation,” Gray said.
Gray also addressed the Indonesian LGBT community directly and apologized “for exposing you all with my off-base statements of the island of Bali being friendly to me and my queer partner.”
“I made a mistake. I made many mistakes writing and publishing the thread on my social media […] I am sorry to Balinese people for promoting travel to the island during this time. I ask you kindly [to] accept my apology and I will do my best to spread the message of ethical travel to Bali when it is safe,” she wrote.
Coconuts has attempted to reach Gray for her comments on the controversy.