A glamorous travel influencer who says she’s the first recorded woman to visit every country in the world is embroiled in a bitter legal dispute amid claims that other female globetrotters have been the first to accomplish the feat.
LA-based Cassie De Pecol — who charges $4,500 per Instagram post — is being sued by consumer rights group Travelers United who allege she misled her 484,000 followers and lucrative brand sponsors over the claim.
A complaint filed by Travelers United also accused De Pecol, 33, of writing a bogus five-star review of her own book on Amazon comparing her favorably to Serena Williams.
The group adds that during her global tour in some countries, the influencer simply stepped outside an airport before quickly boarding another flight.
Now De Pecol — which has enjoyed brand partnerships with Venus razors and Quest protein bars — has hit back at the “defamatory” allegations, threatening a $500,000 countersuit against Travelers United’s lawyers. She strongly denies the allegations.
Travel influencer Cassie De Pecol, 33, is embroiled in a bitter legal dispute over claims she ‘misled’ her followers and sponsors by claiming to be the first woman to visit every country in the world
De Pecol is also accused of writing a bogus five-star review of her own book on Amazon, in which she positively compared herself to Serena Williams. De Pecol denies having made misleading statements
The Pecol has had brand partnerships with Venus razors and Quest protein bars
De Pecol – who hails from Connecticut – made headlines, appearing on numerous TV shows in 2017 after repeatedly insisting that she was the first woman to visit every country in the world.
She was 27 years old at the time and was featured in the New York Times, Cosmopolitan and Teen Vogue and appeared on ABC News and the Today Show, among others.
But she quickly received backlash from the online travel community saying that several other women had reached the record first.
Many pointed to the German traveler Nina Sedano who published a book discussing visiting each recognized country. Sedano published two more books about her travels in Germany.
Audrey Walsworth, an 87-year-old who lives in Marceline, Missouri, also claims she has visited all 193 countries in the world as of 2018.
And Dorothy Pine, who died in 2011, is also said to have visited each of the world’s 193 recognized countries with her husband Robert.
Pine’s feat was noted by the Colorado State Legislature in 2006 and she is widely credited as the first woman to achieve this feat by travel enthusiasts.
The number of countries in the world may vary over time due to the number of authorities that are officially recognized. At the moment there are 195, while De Pecol says he has visited 196.
Amid the backlash, De Pecol then appeared to amend her claim by stating that she was the first woman “on record” to have traveled to every country in the world.
But Travelers United filed a legal complaint against her last year, pointing out she had never verified her claims with popular travel tracking groups ‘NomadMania’; and “Most Traveled People.”
Instead, her “on record” caveat appears to be related to two Guinness World Records (GWR) she owns.
A 2018 media kit says she charges $4,500 to run an Instagram ad about a product and $2,500 for an Instagram story
De Pecol continues to claim on her Instagram account that she is the ‘first recorded woman to travel every country in the world’
The legal complaint – seen by Dailymail.com – states that the two GWR records were ‘Fastest time to travel all sovereign nations’ and ‘Fastest time to travel all sovereign nations – female’. Neither seems to claim she was the first.
The organization alleges that De Pecol violated the District of Columbia Consumer Protection Procedures Act (CCPPA) and “swindled investors and sponsors.”
The complaint added: “(De Pecol) sought to erase women’s history for her own financial gain, and she continued to give the press misleading statements about her travels or awards, yet her social media following continues to grow.”
Lawyers also alleged that De Pecol often tags herself in hotels without mentioning whether or not she was paid for the content.
Influencers are required by law to declare whether they have been paid to promote a product on social media.
A 2018 media kit says she charges $4,500 to run an Instagram ad about a product and $2,500 for an Instagram story.
She also charges $6,500 for a YouTube video about a product and $7,000 to post on her social media.
In addition, she pays $18.00 for speaking at corporate events.
De Pecol’s biography still states that she is the “first recorded woman to travel through every country in the world.”
The lawsuit also alleges that she made up how long she spent visiting each country.
Her entry in the Guinness World Records states that she has “spent from a single day to two weeks in a country.”
DePecol – who hails from Connecticut – made headlines appearing on a string of TV shows in 2017 after repeatedly insisting she was the first woman to visit every country in the world
She has been featured in the New York Times, Cosmopolitan and Teen Vogue and has appeared on ABC News and the Today Show, among others
Travelers United claims the influencer would simply leave an airport in some countries before quickly turning back on herself and boarding another flight
De Pecol has amassed more than 400,000 followers documenting her adventures online
However, the complaint claims: ‘In many countries it is clear that she has not spent a day. She didn’t even spend an hour.
It quotes a blog post by witness Hans Petter Stølsvik who says he shared a flight with De Pecol to Tuvalu, an island nation in the South Pacific.
“The day we left the island while waiting for the plane, a girl stumbled into the departure hall,” he said.
‘I asked her who she was as I hadn’t seen her on the island the days before, she mentions she just arrived on the same flight we left on.
She also went back on the same flight. This was Kassandra de Pecol.’
The organization also claims to have evidence that a five-star review of its own Amazon book was actually written by De Pecol herself.
The review states, “Cassie discussed that her goal was to also make history and she did.
German adventurer Nina Sedano, pictured, also claims to have visited all 193 countries in the world
Sedena published a book in German about her adventures in 2014
“When you look at the examples of historical figures like Serena Williams and Lance Armstrong (who cheated but got what he deserved), Michael Phelps and all the other individuals who had to fight for their truth and prove themselves for history, Cassie had to do too.’
The review was posted by someone named “Sarah,” but when Travelers United clicked on the account, they found a note that read, “Cassie De Pecol makes money off this store.” And the page was full of products linked to De Pecol.
Lawyers acting on behalf of De Pecol and Travelers United have filed a joint motion to give them 60 days to resolve the matter through mediation.
The Pecol has until May 17 to respond to the issues outlined in the complaint, while a meeting between the two sides is scheduled for June 16.
Last month, her attorneys threatened a countersuit against Travelers United attorney Lauren Wolfe seeking more than $500,000 in damages.
A letter addressed to Wolfe read: ‘We, on behalf of Cassandra De Pecol, have filed a counterclaim against Travelers and a third party complaint against you personally because of your repeated false and defamatory statements about Mrs De Pecol (too many to list here) and your continued malicious interference in Ms. De Pecol’s business contracts and relationships.”
Her lawyers also told Dailymail.com, “This case will be tried in a district court in the District of Columbia.
However, given the outrageous allegations against Ms De Pecol, I will say that Ms De Pecol vehemently denies Travelers United’s allegations, and we will vigorously defend and attack on her behalf.
‘Mrs. De Pecol looks forward to putting things right during this trial.”