A new Instagram account has been created called @hotmigrants and, naturally, people are angry.
The account features photos of attractive male refugees and migrants "on their journey to Europe".
The images of these "handsome men" are screenshots taken from the news, and then captioned with a line alluding to both their good looks features and refugee status.
Some captions read, “Looking flawless in Lesbos? ✔ ✔ ✔”, “Waiting handsomely for a better life”, and "#afghan migrant arriving by sea, his hotness can't flee".
The account currently has over 2900 followers and appears to be growing.
However, several commenters have shared their anguish at the nature of this account, finding it insensitive to refugees and the migrant crisis plaguing Europe at this time.
One commenter wrote, “HOW IS THIS FUNNY. DELETE.”
Another wrote, "This whole account is a fucking mess – deliberate objectification and harmfully reductive commentary on people who’s lives hang in the balance.”
The account is claimed to be created by a 20-something living in Washington DC, who told New York Magazine the account was created with good intentions.
"There is something to be said about finding comedy in such a tragedy. It helps to cope with the situation," they said.
"I created this account after watching a video from the refugees and migrants who were stuck behind the border fence in Idomeni. One of the people who was pleading for the borders to open caught my eye and I found myself recounting how many other times I pondered about some of these people's fates. I got distracted by some of the good-looking men in the process. It's a bit surreal to 'objectify' people who are fleeing war and broken countries ... It is hard to overlook these people if you aren't seeing them through their trek in Europe and it's easy to dismiss them because the reality is far removed from you. These photos bring the realities a bit closer. There is something to be said about finding comedy in such a tragedy. It helps to cope with the situation."
- @hotmigrants account creator told New York Magazine.
The UNHCR reports that so far this year, over 150,000 refugees from the Middle East have travelled to Europe in search of asylum. Most of them make their way to Germany and northern Europe via Greece (143,000 refugees), a passage that has made very recent headlines with the blockage between the Greek-Macedonian border.
Regardless of their intent, it's probably safe to say objectifying people in the midst of humanitarian crisis is never okay. Ever.