On Sunday, Palestinian-American supermodel Bella Hadid shared a picture of the sole of her shoes coincidentally pointing towards a Saudi Arabian and United Arab Emirates (UAE) plane on her Instagram account.
From the angle of the photo, it seems as though she is deliberately pointing her boot towards the tail of the plain, as though she were kicking it. And the tail is where you can see the flags of both Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
This has made Bella’s Arab followers feel insulted and soon after she put the picture up, hashtag #BellaHadidIsRacist starting trending on Twitter the world over. Also, since the model represents luxury retail Dior, many disgruntled fans began threatening to boycott it.
Twitter was taken by storm.
But the outrage did not just end there. Instagram users also began leaving numerous shoe emojis, flag emojis (for Saudia Arabia and the UAE) and green heart emojis on not only Bella’s social media handles but also her family’s.
After being accused of “disrespecting” the two nations and their culture, the 22-year-old came out and apologised on Monday.
In a statement posted to Instagram and Twitter, Hadid mentioned the Muslim and Arab side of her family and that she meant no disrespect.
“I would never want my post or platform to be used for hate against anything, especially those of my own beautiful and powerful heritage,” Bella wrote. “I love and care so much about the Muslim and Arab side of my father, as well as my brothers and sisters throughout the world.”
She added, “I want to send a sincere apology to those who ever thought I would put blame on them, especially to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. This was never the cast and I hope you can understand the misunderstanding.”
The budding starlet later promised to do better in the future. “I will be more responsible when bringing awareness to all causes, including my beloved Middle Eastern community.”
In her apology, Bella even clarified that the photo of her shoe had nothing to do with politics. This, however, is not the first time that she has been caught up in a racism row. Back in February 2017, Bella shared a video on social media of her sister Gigi at a restaurant pulling a face to imitate an Asian person. She was seen sitting at a table with friends and holding up a cookie in the shape of the Buddah and then smiling and squinting her eyes to imitate the face.
Bella was born in Washington, DC. Her father is a Palestinian and her mother is Dutch.
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