Pink Christmas Cake false charity promotion for kids with bone cancer to her followers led $1 million hefty Fine on Instagram Influencer in Italy.
An Italian influencer got hit with a hefty $1 million fine for promoting a pink Christmas cake to her followers last year, claiming the money would go to charity. But Italian authorities say that promised donation never happened.
Chiara Ferragni, with almost 30 million followers on Instagram, has apologized for leading people on about buying a pink Christmas cake, as reported by the BBC. The cake’s maker had actually given money to the hospital months before they launched it. Now, Ferragni has promised to donate $1 million to the Regina Margherita Hospital.
In an Instagram post, she admitted she made a “mistake in good faith… connecting a business activity with a charitable one.” She also plans to fight the AGCM antitrust authority’s decision, calling the fine “unfair and too much.”
Last Friday, the watchdog found out that buyers of Ferragni’s branded pandoro cake were tricked into thinking their purchases would help get medical equipment for the hospital, especially for treating kids with Osteosarcoma and Ewing’s Sarcoma, according to the BBC.
The controversy made Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni speak out over the weekend, criticizing influencers who promote “expensive cakes that make it seem like they’re giving to charity,” without mentioning Ferragni by name.
The AGCM watchdog said false ads took advantage of people’s “feelings for charity, especially those helping kids with serious illnesses.” This broke Italy’s consumer code and was an unfair business practice, they added.
In November 2022, Ferragni launched a cake with Italian pastry brand Balocco. The pandoro, a traditional Italian Christmas dessert like panettone, came in a pink box instead of the usual red, with an illustration of Ferragni and her logo. At the time, she promoted it on Instagram as a charity initiative supporting kids getting treatment for bone cancer at the Regina Margherita Hospital in Turin, Italy.