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June 25, 2019

‘Chernobyl’ writer disapproves of how tourists are taking selfies at disaster site

June 13, 2019
A visitor poses for a selfie next to a wrecked car at the Chernobyl exclusion zone in the abandoned city of Pripyat. (SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The “Chernobyl” writer and creator doesn’t approve of the way tourists are documenting their trips to the disaster site.

Following the success of HBO’s hyper-realistic “Chernobyl,” about the 1986 nuclear disaster and its aftermath, tourists are flocking to the scene of the devastation in the now-abandoned city of Pripyat, Ukraine. Many of the tourists have been posting giddy selfies and posing for portraits for all of social media to behold.

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One woman even posted a photo of her naked body against a grim background.

Craig Mazin, a native New Yorker who created and penned the miniseries, tweeted Tuesday in response to the trend. “It’s wonderful that #ChernobylHBO has inspired a wave of tourism to the Zone of Exclusion,” Mazin wrote. “But yes, I’ve seen the photos going around.”

“If you visit,” he continued, “Please remember that a terrible tragedy occurred there. Comport yourselves with respect for all who suffered and sacrificed.”

The Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant became the site of the worst nuclear disaster. The death toll has never been confirmed, but estimations about the casualties, immediate and as a subsequent consequence, range from 4,000 to 90,000.

Many of those in the photos appear completely unfazed by what took place 33 years ago.

Among the most controversial is a photo of a mostly nude woman with a Hazmat suit hanging off her body.

In another photo, a man is shown grinning widely at the camera as he holds up two fingers to signify “peace.” Part of his caption, when translated, reads, “This is amazing. As if I am the hero of a film about postapocalypse.”

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A haunted final day of LFWM

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The eerie trend has drawn comparisons to tourists taking similar carefree photos at Holocaust sites such as Auschwitz.

The Auschwitz Memorial responded to the trend in March, urging visitors to “Respect their memory. There are better places to learn how to walk on a balance beam than the site which symbolizes deportation of hundreds of thousands to their deaths.”

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