Bella Hadid apologizes after Middle East fans accuse her of 'racism': 'Will never be the one to talk down on these countries'
Supermodel Bella Hadid has apologized to her fans in the Middle East and the UAE who were offended by a recent post on her Instagram story, terming it "racist". Some of her fans even took to social media with the hashtag #BellaHadidIsRacist and posted videos of them throwing away Dior and other products endorsed by the star.
The controversy began when 22-year-old Hadid posted a picture of her shoe up against an airport window on her Instagram story. The picture's background had airplanes from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Many critics found the positioning of her foot offensive as it showed the sole of her foot towards the flags on the planes' tails, which is considered disrespectful in Arabian culture. Shortly after the picture was put up on Hadid's story, many fans took to Twitter to call for brands that work with the supermodel to stop using her in their advertisement campaigns.
After facing heavy criticism over the picture, Hadid again took to her Instagram and Twitter to apologize both in English and Arabic and explained that the photo had "nothing to do with politics."
In a separate tweet on Monday, Hadid added that the image "was an honest mistake on an early morning."
“I am posting this to clear up a few things that have been weighing on my heart,” Hadid wrote on her Instagram Stories Monday. “To begin, I would never want my posts or platform to be used for hate against anyone, especially those of my own beautiful & powerful heritage. I love and care so much about the Muslim and Arab side of my family, as well as my brothers and sisters throughout the world.”
“Not only do I have so much respect from the bottom of my heart, I have always tried to stand up for what I feel is right, especially regarding the great Middle East. I have never and will never be the one to talk down on these countries… Only to spread love, and the true beauty of them, as the way I was taught by my Teta and my father. To feel as if I have disappointed you is what hurts me the most," the model continued.
“The photo of my shoe on my Story yesterday had NOTHING to do with politics. I promise,” Hadid said. “I never noticed the planes in the background and that is the truth. I would never mean to disrespect these airlines, let alone these amazing countries. I absolutely love these airlines, with the best planes and people.”She concluded by sending “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 case, and I hope you can understand the misunderstanding,” she told her fans. “I will be more responsible when bringing awareness to all causes, including my beloved Middle Eastern community. Thank you for taking the time. I love every single one of you.”
Hadid's apology, however, has not stopped riled fans from calling her a racist as one Twitter user said: "I never liked you and now I have a reason not to."
While another added: "We know that she deliberately did it, and apologized because she feared for her work and not for our respect #BellaHadidIsRacist” said another on Twitter."