A controversial Aussie social media star has lifted the lid on the shocking pay local workers earn in the Indonesian holiday hotspot of Bali.
Gold Coast TikTok personality Luke Erwin has been handing out millions in local currency to Balinese staff he encounters at his resort and in the street.
After discovering many locals work for around $1 an hour and earn under $10 a day, he has videoed himself giving them 1 million rupiahs, worth just under $100.
In Bali staff work for pennies, allowing upmarket resorts to charge a fraction of what similar hotels charge in Australia.
The average annual wage is around $18,000 – and the minimum wage is just 2.5 million rupiahs a month, or about $240. The average salary for a hotel waiter or waitress is 125million rupiah, or $12,000 a year.
Now Erwin has filmed himself handing out wads of cash to locals.
Gold Coast TikTok personality Luke Erwin has been handing out millions in local currency to low-paid Balinese staff he encounters at his resort and in the street
The rolls of notes, seen folded up in Erwin’s hand on bodycam-style video before he counts it out and hands it over, are worth about two weeks’ wages to the locals.
But most of the recipients politely decline the cash in confusion before Erwin insists they take it.
One of six recent videos filmed in Bali has been viewed almost five million times since a clip of him tipping a restaurant waitress 1 million rupiah went live two days ago.
‘This girl has been serving us at the restaurant the last few days,’ Erwin tells viewers as he films himself approaching it.
‘This beautiful girl was one of the hardest workers I have ever met. She had to be rewarded.’
The young woman, wearing a crisp white uniform tells towering tattooed Erwin – who stands about 6ft 8 inches – that she works nine hours a day for 100,000 rupiah, which is about $9.50.
‘You’re a very hard worker and we appreciate you,’ says Erwin as he pulls out a wad of rupiah notes and starts counting them out to her.
She steps backwards and says ‘no’ as he says: ‘This is one million.’
The woman laughs awkwardly and holds her hand up and repeatedly says ‘It’s okay’ but Erwin insists telling her: ‘You’re the best worker. Please…’
He shakes her hand instead and continues to try to give her the money until she finally accepts, saying: ‘Thank you so much.’
After discovering many locals work for around $1 an hour and earn under $10 a day, Luke Erwin (pictured) has videoed himself giving them 1 million rupiahs, worth just under $100.
The young woman, wearing a crisp white uniform revealed that she works nine hours a day for 100,000 rupiah, which is about $9.50
Erwin does a double high five with the waitress before telling her again: ‘You’re a very hard worker and you deserve it. Are you happy?’
‘I’m very happy,’ she replies before shaking his hand as Erwin pulls her in for a hug.
‘You’re amazing,’ he says, as he adds to her boss off camera: ‘Number one worker, brother.’
The video is the most successful of a series of the recent clips he’s filmed in Bali, including giving his resort gardener another $100.
He also pretended to be broke and hungry as he filmed a Balinese market stallholder and begged for a bag of rice.
The average annual wage is around $18,000 a year – and the minimum wage is just 2.5 million rupiahs a month, or around $240. Luke Erwin also his resort gardener (pictured) $100
The stallholder (pictured) gave him two bags of rice and then revealed he earned less than $300 a month before Erwin gave him another 1million ruppiah for his kindness
The stallholder gave him two bags of rice and then revealed he earned less than $300 a month before Erwin gave him another 1 million rupiah for his kindness.
Although the pay is very low by western standards, Indonesia was recently hailed by the UN for halving the number of those living in ‘multi-dimensional poverty’ in recent years.
Erwin has courted controversy with his videos since switching from social media pranks to giving away cash on camera in footage which has been branded ‘exploitative’ and ‘degrading’ by some.
In August, Erwin – who previously dated Bernard Tomic’s OnlyFans ex, Vanessa Sierra – was slammed for raining $5 notes over the head of a homeless man in Australia.
‘Here we go, let’s go, baby,’ he laughed as $100 worth of $5 notes fluttered to the ground and the man quickly tried to gather them up.
He had previously had to delete an earlier ‘tone deaf’ video after a furious backlash over him pretending to sneeze over another homeless man.
In a since-deleted video the internet personality is seen walking towards a homeless man armed with a green spray bottle before pretending to sneeze on him
His most popular clip, viewed 38 million times, was of Erwin pretending to have his arm in a sling and asking strangers to tie his shoe.
One well-dressed man declined, but a nearby homeless man offered instead – without receiving any reward.
He has since changed direction and has been staging stunts to create situations where he can reward people for kindness, like dropping his wallet near people and giving them $50 if they return it.
Earlier this month he came under fire for apparently shaming one elderly migrant couple for not helping him open a bottle of water while his arm was in a sling.
He published a clip of them ignoring his pleas for help as they walked past with the caption: ‘Don’t be the person that doesn’t help’.
It sparked more criticism of the couple in the comments below.
However the couple were the parents of SBS journalist Amal Awad who slammed Erwin and revealed her parents were currently dealing with her father’s renal failure.
Erwin told Daily Mail Australia he hadn’t expected any backlash on the video and called on his critics to give back to their communities.
Luke Erwin, a social media personality based on the Gold Coast, is seen raining $5 notes on top of a man sitting on the pavement in his latest TikTok video (pictured)
Her father was walking with a cane and her mother was carrying bags of groceries making it impossible for them to help, she said.
‘To me, these stunts are not random acts of kindness; at best they are performance, at worst they are monetised harassment,’ said Awad.
‘My parents, minding their own business, should have a right to their privacy.
‘Buskers need permission to sing in public spaces, but anyone with a mobile phone can ‘perform’ without permission and force a stranger into being part of their ‘content’ without consent.
‘True kindness is not made for public consumption. It does not need likes or commentary, and it should be genuine.’
In August, after Erwin was criticised for his stunts with the homeless, he told Daily Mail Australia: ‘To the people that are giving me shit, f*** them.
‘I don’t see them out doing anything. The people that are complaining, they’ve just never donated in their life.’
Some viewers of the stunt claimed the influencer (pictured) had ‘belittled’ people and questioned if he was just donating for social media clout
The generous stunts have divided the internet (pictured, Erwin with his girlfriend Maddison)
After the row with the SBS journalist’s family, he took to TikTok to defend himself in a clip entitled: ‘I can’t do anything right’.
He apologised to the family involved in the water bottle video, but stressed how much he had given away on camera to others, which followers estimated to be around $8000 in total.
‘I used to do all these terrible pranks which I wasn’t proud of,’ he admitted.
‘Now I’ve changed my content and I’m giving back to the homeless and helping people in need.
‘It my happy place, giving back – but all the media want to address is the negative negative negative.’
But he admitted: ‘All of my decisions aren’t always going to be correct.’
Luke Erwin (pictured) has deleted some videos and apologised for others, and admitted in one recent video that not all of his decisions ‘are going to be correct’
His videos receive a mixed reaction online with some hailing his generosity but others branding them exploitative and self-serving.
‘You know how kind and generous someone really is by the words they say and things they do without a camera being present,’ said one in the comments under the clip with the waitress.
But another added: ‘What a great man. Her face when he said 1 million was worth it – well done!’
Daily Mail Australia has contacted Erwin for comment.