Chloe is a teenage influencer who has just reached one million followers. To celebrate, she decides to do the “Massive Tip Challenge” and give away one thousand pounds to a waiter of her choosing - whoever she thinks looks most desperate and will give her fans the best reaction. Chloe’s plan backfires when she crosses paths with Camila, a single mom juggling two jobs and looking more than a bit stressed during her shift at the café. When Camila gets her tip, she reacts with shock and surprise instead of gratitude. Chloe is unsatisfied with the response and snatches back the money. She attempts to reenact the scene while directing Camila to act with more “gratitude and happiness”. Camila is stunned and Chloe’s attitude begins to attract the attention of the other costumers. The influencer becomes increasingly pushy and belligerent, asking Camila to imagine what she could do with all that money. Camila begins to feel more and more worthless. Ultimately, Camila has to chose whether to accept the money and the humiliation that comes with it, or reject it and keep her pride. After all, “whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift” (Matthew 23:19)?
We are adapting the warning against hypocrisy from Matthew Chapter 23, also known as The Seven Woes. In the original story Jesus is challenging the actions of the Pharisees and religious leaders. We are adapting our version to challenge the actions of Internet celebrities, who can sometimes have a similarly blind following. In verse 2, Jesus says that “the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat”, meaning that while the ideas they preach may be virtuous, their actions are hypocritical; “Everything they do is done for people to see” (23:5). The fact that their actions are born out of vanity is also highlighted: “They love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‘Rabbi’ by others" (25:7). What we aim to critique is how influencers often construct a fake, virtuous public persona that is entirely at odds with their actual personality, or as Jesus phrased it: “You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence” (23:25).