An Eastbourne student has hit back at criticism after a photo of her posing in front of the burning pier with a bottle of cider went viral.
The image, which has been viewed more than a million times on photo-sharing website Imgur, shows Louisa Foley sitting in a leopard-print bikini on Eastbourne beach and smiling while flames engulfed the Victorian tourist attraction in the background.
Despite many internet users labelling the picture insensitive and disrespectful, Louisa has defended her actions and called the criticism ‘ridiculous’, adding it was a ‘great photo opportunity’.
Speaking to student news site, The TAB, Louisa said, “My friend was visiting Eastbourne, where I’m from, so we decided to pop down to the beach. We were drinking and enjoying the sun when she asked me if the pier usually has smoke coming from it. That’s when we realised it was on fire and saw it as a great photo opportunity – it’s not something you see everyday.
“It’s a great shame that it’s happened as the pier’s a great landmark in Eastbourne, but there’s all kinds of photos throughout history of similar events.
“I think it’s hilarious some people are making assumptions of how I’m a tourist or on my day off from work – why do they care? They’re making assumptions about my life and who I am, which is none of their business.”
Of her sudden internet fame, the art student added, “I think its ridiculous. I took this photo to share with my own friends and some stranger posted it online. I didn’t in any way expect this to happen but I don’t really care. People have far too much free time.”
Miss Foley said she had received a ‘positive’ reaction from her friends and even joked about framing the photograph for her parents.
As well as Imgur, the photo was uploaded to popular site Reddit, where one user commented, “So fashionable to enjoy destruction and human suffering.”