Connect with us


Barrie native, social media influencer remembered as ‘magnetic force of nature’



Lee MacMillan had reportedly been victim of cyber-bullying, and several of her Instagram stories pointed to those struggles prior to March 26 death in California

Friends and family of Barrie native and popular van-life social media influencer Lee MacMillan are devastated after police confirmed she took her own life late last week.

According to the Santa Barbara Police Department, MacMillan was hit and killed by a train on Friday, March 26. Authorities said the 28-year-old had been reported missing after she left her Santa Barbara home earlier that day without taking her car, wallet, keys, identification and cellphone. They feared she may have been suicidal after she had expressed suicidal ideation for the last month. 

MacMillan, who grew up in Barrie, had been living in Santa Barbara, Calif., but had spent the last several years travelling and documenting her van life on Instagram. Her account, Life With Lee, had nearly 80,000 followers from around the world.

She had reportedly been the victim of cyber-bullying and several of her own Instagram stories pointed to those struggles.

“If what I have to say doesn’t sit well with you then I wish you well as our feeds untangle. I am a real person who has grown, changed and moved on with my life. If you have a hard time seeing me happily in love then please unfollow me now,” she wrote in a Dec. 13, 2020, Instagram post. “I will not accept any comments about my past relationship. If you wish to leave your unsolicited opinion of my personal choice about who I date you will no longer be welcome here and I will block you.

“This is an open-minded community where I encourage constructive and thoughtful dialogue, but if you leave unproductive hateful comments you will be blocked as well,” MacMillan added. “I am well aware of the consequences of sharing my life online. That doesn’t excuse people for being rude, careless or abrasive. If you hide behind a hidden profile leaving comments that don’t add value to this community you will also be unwelcome.”

In a post a few weeks prior, MacMillan expressed her fear about sharing the news she’d found love again. 

“I am genuinely afraid to get hurt again…  from the unsolicited opinions I will receive online when people who know nothing about me will feel righteous behind their keyboards and hidden profiles because what — they don’t like to see change? Yes, of course — just ignore them — you can’t please everyone, nor do I want to,” she wrote. 

“I have done a lot of inner work to create boundaries around whose opinions matter to me. But, it’s who I am to my core to think about other people and I don’t want to hurt anyone, ever. So I’ve been keeping this exciting news close to my heart for a while now. It makes me a little sad that something so exciting and special also has this vail of fear attached to it,” MacMillan added. 

Steve Ricalis and the team at Donaleighs restaurant in downtown Barrie are still trying to wrap their heads around the loss of one of their own.

“She was a great girl. There is not one bad thing I could say about that girl,” Ricalis told BarrieToday. “She was smart, articulate. It’s just so sad that her life ended that way.”

MacMillan, who had worked at the Dunlop Street East pub on and off for about four years before setting off on her trek around the globe, was never shy in sharing her struggles, he added. 

“She was back here about six months ago and we knew she was having a hard time,” Ricalis said. “She wasn’t shy about it. We all tried to talk about it. It’s just so sad she had to go through that and be in such a dark place by herself. I guess she just wanted the pain to end.”

Although an in-person celebration isn’t possible at the moment due to COVID, Ricalis said he and the rest of the team will find a way to honour their friend.

“We have an annual golf tournament and pick a charity,” he said. “We will do charity of her parents’ choice.”

Barrie photographer Nic Laferriere was friends with MacMillan, and while he chose not to speak publicly about her death out of respect to the family, he expressed his grief on her Instagram page. 

“Could not only light up any room she walked into, but also make every individual she came into contact with feel seen AND heard. One of the best friends you could ever ask for. Love you,” he wrote. 

“After living an extraordinary life and fighting a brave battle with depression, our hearts are shattered. … She was the brightest light, a magnetic force of nature and was loved by so, so many,” reads a statement on the GoFundMe page set up by friends and family — including her partner Jordon Chiu — to raise money for mental health awareness and to combat cyber-bullying.

“If we can do one thing for Lee now, in the midst of this soul-crushing loss, it’s to spread the message that mental health is just as real as physical health, and that illness can strike anyone, no matter how unlikely they may seem,” Chiu added. “Lee’s struggles with her mental health were also compounded in her last months of life by persistent and often vicious cyber-bullying, and we want to drive home the point that cyber-bullying has real life consequences — the people on the other side of the screen have real lives, real feelings, and real struggles of their own.” 

Chiu, who is organizing the fundraiser which has already raised nearly $120,000, noted MacMillan was an advocate for mental health and was always candid and open about her own struggles.

“She was receiving help: from professionals, from family, from friends. She had support around her,” Chiu said. “She was not alone, she was not trying to fight this alone. And yet she still succumbed to this terrible illness. It is more nuanced than we can, or do, appreciate or understand.”

Chiu asked people to check in on their loved ones. 

“Ask them genuinely how they’re doing. Be available to help. To listen. To offer help. Remove the stigma of asking for help,” he said.

Chui also created the hashtag #speakupforlee and is urging people to share it.

“You never know who is struggling quietly,” he said. “And hold your loved ones tight. Tell them you love them. Because life can change in an instant. We will miss her with every (fibre) of our hearts.”

Read More

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Students walk out at White Bear Lake High School after racist, threatening social media post



Students walk out at White Bear Lake High School after racist, threatening <b>social</b> media post thumbnail

Cox said she was the first person invited into an Instagram group chat Wednesday night with a profane title, where an anonymous user criticized her for wearing a Black Lives Matter mask.

She said other members of the school’s Black Excellence Club were also invited into the group chat, where they were threatened and called racist names.

While most of the messages are too inappropriate to show on our website, some of the others read: 

“Watch your back. We do not want you guys here.”


“That’s why George Floyd died can’t wait until everyone your color leaves like that.”

“You should get hanged. You’re a dirty African girl. Nobody wants you here. Go to a black school, This is WHITE bear lake.”

Senior Jessica Kabbe said she was also targeted in the messages. 

“I’m still in shock. I know racism is still a thing, but I didn’t know people would take it to this extent. This is way too far. This is honestly just ridiculous. I feel hurt, I’m irritated, I’m angry, I’m uneasy. I just want to cry. I want to scream,” Kabbe said. 

White Bear Lake Police Department confirmed they are investigating the messages, which could range from disorderly conduct to terroristic threats. They said they may have to issue subpoenas to the social media sites to trace the messages in order to determine who sent them. The department said they take all threats very seriously, especially those directed at children.

White Bear Lake Area Schools investigating racist, threatening social media posts

Kabbe said the Instagram account where the messages originated has now been deleted.

She said she was encouraged to see the support of fellow students, who marched nearly two miles in the rain during Friday’s walkout, but she would like to see school administrators do more to confront racism among students. 

“What my school can do better is just help regulate that saying the N-world and being racist is not normal. That shouldn’t be happening at a school. I shouldn’t feel uneasy or unsafe to come to school,” Kabbe said. 

Friday’s walkout, march and rally lasted nearly two hours. Some students pressed the principal in front of the crowd as to why the district has not acted sooner.

“We need to take a closer look at what we’re doing and do it much better,” answered South Campus Principal Don Bosch.

Students also called on administrators to take reports of racism seriously and asked that school policies be reformed to include harsher penalties for hate speech and bullying.

“There are only 20% of us that are of color in this school. What are we supposed to do against 80% of people? We need them to help us, especially the adults,” Cox said. “I just need a change, and if it has to start in little old White Bear Lake, Minnesota, then that’s where it’s going to start.”

The school district did not respond to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS’ request for an interview but shared this letter, which they sent to district families Thursday: 

Dear White Bear Lake Area High School Students and Families,

We want to inform you that North and South Campus Administration has been notified that last night an anonymous instagram account and group chat was created that was directed towards our students of color. The language towards our students of color was racist, hateful, threatening, and unacceptable which has resulted in students not feeling safe at school.

Please know that an investigation is underway to determine who is behind these deplorable, racist social media posts. We are working closely with our partners in law enforcement to determine as quickly as possible who is responsible.

We stand united in our commitment to ensure a safe, respectful environment for our students, and racism and racist behavior will not be tolerated.


 Ang Nelson and Don Bosch

WBLAHS North and South Campus Principals

Read More

Continue Reading


How to make a TikTok Duet (on Instagram, too)



How to make a TikTok Duet (on <b>Instagram</b>, too) thumbnail

Angela Lang/CNET

If you’re on TikTok — or have seen TikTok videos reposted elsewhere — you’ve likely seen a Duet. Sometimes TikTok creators film videos specifically designed for other users on the app to add to. They can range from dances to singing songs or lip-syncing songs to viral challenges to blind reacts and more. 

Along with features like Stitch, TikTok Duets are another way for creators to interact with each other and for new TikTok-ers to get their foot in the “influencer door.” 

Read more: How to use TikTok: Make videos, go live, gain followers and maybe get famous

How to duet a video on TikTok

1. Download the TikTok app and make an account if you haven’t already.

2. Open the app and find a video you want to duet with. Sometimes creators will make videos specifically for someone to duet with. You might stumble across one in your main For You or Following feeds, but you can also search hashtags like #Duet, #DuetChallenge or #DuetWithMe. The video doesn’t have to be originally filmed to duet, though. 

3. Optional tip: Once you find a video, depending on what it is, you might want to “rehearse” a few times before recording. Don’t worry though, it’s not a one-take-only situation. 

4. After you find a video, tap the three-dot More icon in the bottom right of the video. 

5. Choose Duet (if Duet isn’t available, that means the creator turned it off in their own settings).

6. Start recording. 

7. When you’ve finished, add any special effects or edits and tap the checkmark. You can also add a few more effects after tapping the checkmark.

8. Tap Next after you’ve edited the video.

9. Before you publish, you can adjust your settings — allow or disallow comments, decide who can view the video and if others can duet or stitch with your video and add a description and additional hashtags.

10. Tap Post (or you can save to drafts for more editing).

Now you’re one step closer to TikTok fame (or at least a fun post for your own friends and followers). 


Unless a creator adjusts it in settings, you can make a duet with their TikTok.

César Salza/CNET

Don’t use TikTok? Try Instagram’s Remix feature for duets

If you don’t have a TikTok account, social media app Instagram has its own take on the short video tool called Instagram Reels (here’s how to use Reels), as well as a new Duet-style feature called Remix. With the latest version of the app, you’ll be able to find Reels between Search and Instagram Shopping tabs at the bottom of the screen. 


A look at Instagram Reels layout. 

Shelby Brown/CNET

Here’s how to Remix an Instagram Reel

1. Open the Instagram app. Download and make an account if you haven’t already.

2. Open the Reels tab and find a Reel you want to remix. 

3. Tap the three-dot More icon on your chosen Reel.

4. If Remix is available for you, choose the option Remix This Reel. 

5. From there, the interface works the same as making a Reel — the Reel you’re remixing will just be in the shot. Start filming and you can add music, edits and stickers. 

6. Tap next to watch and finalize any edits. Like TikTok, you can record and edit as much as you want. 

7. Tap next again, write in a caption, tag people and choose to add it as a Reel or to your Instagram Stories.

8. Tap Share or Save Draft.

For more TikTok tips and Instagram instructions, check out our tips on how to use TikTok and what might happen if Instagram for kids becomes a reality.

Discover the latest apps: Be the first to know about the hottest new apps with the CNET Apps Today newsletter.

Now playing:
Watch this:

The dream of Oculus VR: Five years later


Read More

Continue Reading


Kardashian lawyers work to remove image of Khloe from social media. Could it be backfiring?



The Kardashian family and their team appear to be working to remove an image of Khloe Kardashian from social media after it was reportedly posted without her approval. 

The moment the image was posted online, fans began to repost it. It has been shared multiple times by countless accounts.

But in a bid by lawyers to stop the image spreading further, accounts claim they have received legal notices for sharing the image, with some claiming they were blocked on platforms for reposting it.

Wait, what does the picture show?

The image in question shows Khloe Kardashian standing by the pool in a bikini. 

The image looks noticeably different from the other images the reality star posts — in this image, her skin doesn’t have an artificially smooth finish and her curves are different. 

Essentially, the image appears not to be airbrushed.

Khloe Kardashian has since addressed the situation by posting multiple videos of her “unretouched and unfiltered” body to Instagram along with a statement.

“The photo that was posted this week is beautiful,” the post begins.

“But as someone who has struggled with body image her whole life, when someone takes a photo of you that isn’t flattering […] and then shares it to the world, you should have every right to ask for it to not be shared — regardless of who you are.”

“I’m of course not asking for sympathy, but I am asking to be acknowledged for being human.”

Who took it?

According to various take-down notices posted online, the image was taken by Mary Jo “MJ” Shannon, Kris Jenner’s mother and Khloe Kardashian’s grandmother.

As the person that took the image, Ms Shannon is therefore the copyright owner.

Tracy Romulus, chief marketing officer for KKW Brands, told Page Six that the picture was taken “during a private family gathering and posted to social media without permission by mistake by an assistant”.

She went on:

The response from the Kardashian team was broad and swift, issuing takedown notices across several social media platforms, including Instagram, Twitter and Reddit.

One Twitter account @KosmeticKrys posted unverified screenshots of notices that their account had been locked for reposting the image, as well as a takedown request from Los Angeles law firm Lavely & Singer P.C.


Fans seemed bewildered by the response — Khloe Kardashian generally only posts airbrushed pictures, but in this image she appeared as her natural self.

Many were left wondering why the Kardashians took such a strong response to what was a widely celebrated “realistic” image of the reality star.


Is this kind of response common?

Yes and no.

Takedown notices are quite common on social media platforms.

They are invoked under the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) which protects copyright owners who believe their rights under US copyright laws have been infringed.

The ABC contacted Instagram for comment and was directed to the platform’s policy on intellectual property that states:

“Generally, copyright protects original expression such as words or images.

“The Instagram Terms of Use do not allow posting content that violates someone else’s intellectual property rights, including copyright and trademark.”

What makes this situation interesting is the nature of the content in question and the ferocity with which the takedown notices are being issued.

The image of Khloe Kardashian has been generally well received from her predominantly female audience, to whom she regularly stresses the importance of body positivity. 

Like this recent post to her 136 million followers about accepting and loving stretch marks:


But the amount of effort being invested in taking down each copy of the image across Instagram, Twitter and Reddit sends a quite different message. 

Is it too late to contain the image from spreading further?

It is hard to say.

After circulating for about two days, the image is likely experiencing the Streisand Effect, where the effort to suppress information — a story, a video or a picture — only amplifies it further.

A close-up image of Barbra Streisand's face as she smiles.

American singer, actress and filmmaker Barbra Streisand, pictured in 2013.(

Reuters: Carlo Allegri


The Streisand Effect is named for legendary singer Barbra Streisand, who tried to suppress pictures taken of her house by suing the photographer.

She claimed the photographer had violated her privacy by posting the image of her Malibu home on a website designed to document excessive development on California’s coast.

But the resulting publicity from the lawsuit drove significantly more traffic to the website than it would otherwise attract.

The effort to suppress Khloe Kardashian’s image could be having a similar effect.

Read More

Continue Reading