Nobody feels sorry for Nadia Bartel.
Nadia Bartel first tasted publicity as the partner of AFL player Jimmy Bartel; the pair have recently divorced. She was a WAG (Wife And Girlfriend), a model, a fashion designer, and now a businesswoman and a social media influencer. Nadia Bartel is a big name in Melbourne.
It hasn’t all been roses for her.
Her marriage to Jimmy broke down after it was revealed he had been in a long-term relationship with another woman. Nadia also lives in Melbourne, the lockdown capital of the world. Melbourne has endured more days in lockdown than any city on earth. None of this excuses her behaviour.
Bartel was caught having a party in lockdown in full breach of Victoria’s tough COVID restrictions. Ellie Pearson, a business partner, and friend of Nadia uploaded a 3 second video clip to Instagram which appears to show Nadia Bartel snorting white powder. It would seem the clip was uploaded by accident. Within minutes Pearson deleted the incriminating footage but by then it was already going viral.
Nadia Bartel’s antics became trending news in Melbourne. Her behaviour is worthy of criticism. Melbournians have suffered immensely through seemingly unending COVID lockdowns. People can’t visit their elderly parents, kids can’t attend school, small businesses can’t operate, and no one can travel more than 5 kilometres from home.
The sight of a bunch of wealthy social media influencers having a drug-fuelled party at a 3-million-dollar luxury pad, flouting rules that everybody else must follow was offensive.
And she paid a high price.
Fined $5,452 for breaching Victoria’s public health orders. Dropped by numerous fashion companies wanting to distance themselves from her conduct. Her indiscretion in the media day after day.
The news media take delight in a good old-fashioned pile-on. It’s not enough that Nadia Bartel was fined, every person and company connected to her must publicly denounce her actions and disassociate from her. The police must be asked to bring the heavy hand of justice down upon her. Victoria Police decided not to lay charges as it wasn’t possible to conclusively determine from the 3 second clip what the white substance exactly was. It’s the one bit of luck Nadia Bartel had all week.
When a public figure has a public fall, it’s common to see a media pile-on.
Media scrums camping out the front of Nadia’s house gave a detailed analysis of the first time she emerged from her home. According to reports, she looked ‘tired’ and unsurprisingly, ‘downtrodden.’
Nadia Bartel has failed and is experiencing the inevitable consequences of that failure. What she doesn’t need is a trial by media. Bartel being a savvy media operator, put out a generic apology to try and quell the controversy.
Her apology was derided as gutless and insincere as it was always going to be. Even the most sorrowful, truly sincere, completely repentant apology would have been rejected by the media pile-on. Nadia Bartel has publicly sinned in the eyes of the media and from them, she will find no mercy.
Admittedly, it’s a challenge to defend a wealthy, seemingly entitled, social media influencer partying it up during a devasting pandemic.
But if people are outraged by the fact she’s broken public health orders, she’s hardly the first to have done so. There were over 40,000 fines issued for COVID breaches in Victoria in 2020 alone. Her breach of the rules is worthy of criticism but not public shaming. As for the possibility she took a prohibited substance, that should trigger concern rather than outrage.
Any marriage breakdown is a devastating outcome causing heavy anguish for those involved.
Nadia Bartel had the additional pain of her marriage breakdown playing out on the public stage. Would that not take a serious toll upon her? The COVID lockdowns in Victoria have unleashed a mental health crisis right across the state. Nadia might be wealthy but she’s not immune from mental health challenges.
Many Victorians have struggled to cope with never-ending lockdowns and some have turned to unhealthy vices as a result. Nadia Bartel is famous but hardly unique: people have all manner of secret addictions and nasty habits that if displayed on Instagram would be humiliating. If Nadia was struggling before her public shaming, I wonder how she’s going now?
In the Bible, religious leaders brought to Jesus a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They told Jesus that she deserved to die. It’s during this incident Jesus used the famous phrase, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.” Nadia Bartel has let herself down. She’s in the headlines for all the wrong reasons and it’s time for the media pile-on to back off.
Travis Barnes lives in central Victoria with his wife and two daughters. He is a contributor for Christian Today and a sportswriter.