A PR event involving high-profile New Zealand influencers has not gone down well on social media.

For Colgate's "White Night In" event on Thursday night, several New Zealand influencers took to Instagram dressed in white satin pyjamas to promote Colgate toothpaste.

A Zoom call shows Matilda Green, Hannah Barrett and Simone Anderson were involved.

It has led to a wave of controversy by people who labelled the event "tone deaf" amid world events like the Black Lives Matter protests and all the conversations on social media around systemic racism.


The Herald has approached the PR company and Colgate ANZ for comment.

The event, on behalf of Colgate, reportedly involved sending PR packages with white linen and white pyjamas to a "guest list" of New Zealand influencers to participate in the "White Night In".

On Thursday night, some influencers took part by donning their new white PJs.

In a post that was still online this morning, but appears to have since been deleted, influencer Simone Anderson posed in white pyjamas in bed, with food, wine, her computer and her dog, as well as a tube of Colgate's new teeth-whitening product.

Former Bachelorette Matilda Green also took part in the event and has since posted a public apology.

Simone Anderson was one of the New Zealand influencers who took part in the PR event. Photo / Instagram
Simone Anderson was one of the New Zealand influencers who took part in the PR event. Photo / Instagram

Speaking on her Instagram stories, Green said she was "waiting on Colgate to speak first" but, as that hasn't happened, she decided to go ahead with her statement.

"I am very very sorry," she said, adding that the event was "definitely tone deaf and insensitive".

"It definitely shouldn't have happened."


The influencer also addressed criticism of the "lack of diversity in the guest list".

"I got the full list ahead of the event. I assumed it would be diverse, I didn't even think about it," she said.

"I have definitely learnt from that."

"I need to take responsibility and use my influence to make sure that these guests lists of PR events are diverse because it's important," she added.

Influencer Makaia Carr has also criticised the event, stating she does not understand how it could have gone from planning to sign-off without anyone questioning it in the current climate.

"It tarnishes the work of those who have been in the PR world for a long time and do a bloody good job," she said.

Carr says those involved in the planning and execution of the event should have asked themselves whether it was "appropriate" and whether they were being "sensitive to the global issues in the world right now".

"It's time for a change. The world is screaming for a change."

Carr also applauded Maria Foy, of Happy Mum Happy Child, for speaking up against the event.

Matilda Green has apologised for her involvement in Colgate's
Matilda Green has apologised for her involvement in Colgate's "White Night In".

"Props to Maria Foy," Carr said, adding that Foy is a "white woman, with something to lose", which makes it even more important that the spoke up.

Foy also took to her Instagram Stories to address the topic, saying she is "not proud" it has taken her so long to discuss the issue.

"Everything that's happened has made me realise that staying quiet about things isn't right," Foy said.

Foy believes the promotion could have been named better.

'Look I get it. I do. At its core it was clearly a teeth-brightening toothpaste campaign. But given the current climate where BLM and racism is at the forefront, and my own personal journey with everything, I didn't feel it was appropriate that a promotion be called that," Foy wrote.

"Call it 'Bright Night' or whatever. But 'White Night' ... just doesn't make sense given everything going on at the moment. Not to me anyway.

"Just because you don't think it's an issue, doesn't mean it's not an issue," she added.