Before she was poor-shaming on Instagram, Louise Linton wrote a “white savior” Africa memoir

Part of the family.
Part of the family.
Image: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for LS
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Louise Linton, the Scottish wife of US treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin and author of a widely ridiculed memoir about living in Zambia, is making waves again.

Linton posted a photo of herself and her husband de-boarding a plane in Kentucky on Instagram with the caption, “Great #daytrip to #Kentucky! #nicest #people #countryside,” according to screenshots of the post. She tagged some of her clothes, including a Hermes scarf, Valentino heels, and Tom Ford sunglasses. When an Instagram user criticized the use of US taxpayer money to pay for her “day trip,” Linton fired back:

Aw!!! Did you think this was a personal trip?! Adorable! Do you think the US govt paid for our honeymoon or personal travel?! Lololol. Have you given more to the economy than me and my husband? Either as an individual earner in taxes OR in self sacrifice to your country? I’m pretty sure we paid more sacrifices toward our day “trip” than you did.

Mnuchin and Linton were indeed on a government trip. Mnuchin was reportedly in Kentucky to call on members of Congress to reform the US tax code. A Treasury Department spokesperson told the Washington Post that the Mnuchins had paid for Linton’s travel.

The Instagram user Linton responded to, Jenni Miller, is a 45-year-old mother of three in Portland, Oregon, who told the New York Times she was taken aback by Linton’s comment and would have responded if Linton hadn’t made her account private.

In the US, Linton is known mainly as an actress who married Mnuchin in a ceremony officiated by vice president Mike Pence and attended by president Donald Trump and his wife, Melania. But she was already famous in Zambia and elsewhere in Africa for her self-published memoir In Congo’s Shadow: One girl’s perilous journey to the heart of Africa, released last year. 

Recounting her gap year in 1999, Linton described hiding from rebel soldiers, protecting an HIV-positive orphan girl, and having close encounters with “lions, elephants, crocodiles, and snakes.” The “skinny white muzungu with long angel hair” describes her realization that “Africa is rife with hidden danger.”

The author and her memoir.
The author and her memoir.
Image: Facebook/Louise Linton

Readers panned the memoir for its white savior tropes, African stereotypes, and inaccuracies and the hashtag #LintonLies began to trend. The Zambian embassy in the US also issued a statement condemning Linton for not understanding that “freedom of expression comes with responsibility.” Linton pulled the book from Amazon, and the Telegraph, which had published an excerpt of it, retracted its piece. At the time, Linton said, “I am deeply sorry to those whom I have offended.”