Model Lily Cole slammed for posing in Afghani burqa for her book in 'ill-timed' post

The controversial photos, posted on August 14, stayed up for three days before British supermodel Lily Cole took them down due to the backlash

                            Model Lily Cole slammed for posing  in Afghani burqa for her book in 'ill-timed' post
British model Lily Cole was lambasted for posing in an Afghani burqa to promote her new book on climate change as the Taliban executed a hostile takeover of Afghanistan. (Instagram/@lilycole)

Lily Cole was shamed for posing in an Afghani burqa to promote her new book on climate change as the Taliban executed a hostile takeover of Afghanistan.

The 33-year-old British supermodel took to Instagram to share two pictures of herself wearing the face covering. One of the images showed a blue veil covering her face while the other revealed her face as she looked directly at the camera. Cole, who lives in Portugal with her boyfriend Kwame Ferreira and their daughter Wylde, 5, uploaded the photos to promote her book "Who Care Wins: Reasons For Optimism in Our Changing World." MEAWW previously reported on how the Taliban, after capturing major cities in Afghanistan, had eagerly shown off their war spoils. The fall of Kandahar, which is Afghanistan’s second-biggest city, on Friday, August 13, meant that insurgents were once again in full control of the state. 


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"It's out. Let's embrace diversity on every level: biodiversity; cultural diversity; diversity of thinking; diversity of voices; diversity of ideas," Cole wrote as she encouraged followers to buy her book. The images, which were posted on Saturday, August 14, stayed up for three days before she took them down due to the backlash.


Cole subsequently issued an apology saying the burqa was "borrowed from a friend" and that she wasn't aware of the Taliban's advance in Afghanistan during the "incredibly ill-timed" post. The militant outfit took control of Kabul on Sunday, August 15, flaunting their power by posing in the presidential palace and prompting thousands of Afghanis to desperately flee the country, fearing for their lives. Women were forced during the Taliban rule in the 1990s to cover themselves from head to toe. They were not allowed to work or attend school, nor were they allowed to leave their homes without the company of a male relative.

Displaced Afghan women and children from Kunduz pray at a mosque that is sheltering them on August 13, 2021, in Kabul, Afghanistan. (Photo by Paula Bronstein /Getty Images)

That said, many criticized Cole for her burqa-clad promotion, accusing the model of "putting Instagram posturing before universal human rights."

"Lily Cole and the vacuity of modern hashtag-feminism. Putting Instagram posturing before universal human rights," The Times columnist Janice Turner tweeted, adding, "I bet Afghan women are celebrating the 'diversity' of wearing this shroud." Activist Caroline Criado Perez commented, "I just went to check her Insta as I couldn't believe that would be recent (not that it would be ok if it were not) and... three days ago. Holy s*** Why?"

"Lily Cole is everything that is wrong with identity politics. On a day when women and girls are cowering in Afghanistan, she’s having an ego wank over her pretend ‘queerness’ being a crime. The fucking state of her narcissism," one Twitter user wrote. "Lily Cole posted these pics 3 days ago when the Taliban had already pretty much taken Afghanistan. Another rich, brain dead, privileged star with too much 'diversity' on her hands," another chimed in, sharing the photos.






Cole, who came out as "queer" last week, posted an apology on her Instagram stories and shared links to Afghan women's organizations she'd purportedly donated to.


"This week I posted an old photo of me wearing a burqa loaned to me by a friend, as she pointed out I was undermining its original purpose by wearing it with my face exposed, but I understand why the image has upset people and want to sincerely apologize for any offense caused," she wrote. "I hadn't read the news at the time I posted so it was incredibly ill timed (thank you for pointing that out to me)."

"My heart breaks reading about what is happening in Afghanistan at the moment, and in looking for organizations helping women on the ground I can support, I thought I would share some I found/ donated to," she added, before listing some of her donations.