Call it the curse of the smartphone age.
At least 79 people are dead following a tragic fire that gutted a London apartment building. And tourists are snapping selfies with the charred remains.
— Guy Smallman (@GuySmallman) June 18, 2017
The tasteless snaps have sparked disgust and anger from some local residents, journalists and people who lost loved ones in the blaze, and they’ve taken to Twitter to vent their frustration, CNN reports.
The 24-story Grenfell Tower in London caught fire last week, quickly becoming a massive inferno, possibly in part due to flammable cladding used in a recent refurbishment of the building. Authorities say at least 79 people are dead or missing and presumed dead so far, and have promised a public inquiry into the disaster, which has left many wondering if enough was done to protect the tower’s residents.
Others apparently are using the tragedy as an opportunity to rack up some likes on Instagram.
Please stop taking selfies with Grenfell tower. My area is NOT a tourist attraction. Let us grieve in peace. From: the Latimer community.
— Natalie Garcia (@ChubbzGarcia) June 20, 2017
It’s not the first time a disaster scene has become a selfie stage. It happened when protesters took to the streets in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014 after a white police officer shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old. That same year, Anderson Cooper rebuffed a Sun News contributor who asked him for a selfie while covering the shooting death of a Canadian solider in Ottawa.
.@vandongene dude, you were rude and asking for a selfie near where a soldier was killed. It was completely inappropriate. Think about it
— Anderson Cooper (@andersoncooper) October 23, 2014
Not only can taking a selfie in the wrong place earn you a public admonishment from Anderson Cooper — it can also get you killed.
Reports of death and injury by selfie are on the rise, Forbes reported earlier this year, citing a study that claims 127 people worldwide died while posing for dangerous photos from March 2014 through Sept. 2016, and many more have been injured. In search of the perfect social media snap, people have fallen from buildings, mountains and cliffs, capsized boats, or died on train tracks or while posing with firearms.
Photo: The burned-out shell of the Grenfell Tower is seen behind terraced houses as local residents look on near the scene of the fire in North Kensington, west London on June 20, 2017. (Niklas Halle’n/AFP/Getty Images)