Bella Hadid attends the 2017 CFDA Fashion Awards at Hammerstein Ballroom on June 5, 2017 in New York City.
Bella Hadid attends the 2017 CFDA Fashion Awards at Hammerstein Ballroom on June 5, 2017 in New York City.

Bella Hadid apologises to Saudi Arabia for 'racist' Instagram post: 'An honest mistake on an early morning'

Model says post has 'nothing to do with politics'

Katie O'Malley
Tuesday 18 June 2019 16:46
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Bella Hadid has apologised to fans who were offended by an Instagram post, describing it as an “honest mistake on an early morning”.

On Sunday, the supermodel posted a photo to her Instagram Story featuring her foot up against an airport window. In the background of the image are airplanes from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on the tarmac.

Several fans took offence to the image, explaining that the sole of the models’ foot was facing the flags printed on the side of the planes’ tailes, which they argued disrespected Arabic culture.

As a result, several Twitter users called for luxury fashion brands such as Calvin Klein and Dior to stop employing the Palestinian-American model in their campaigns, using the hashtag #BellaHadidIsRacist.

“@Dior cut all ties to this ignorant racist model,” tweeted one user.

Another tagged several fashion brands and wrote: “If you care about your customer in Middle East, Stop working with Bella Hadid immediately [sic].”

In light of the backlash, Hadid apologised in English and Arabic on Twitter and in an Instagram Story, explaining that the photo she had shared had “nothing to do with politics”.

Bella Hadid posts photo of foot in airport lounge to Instagram

“I would never mean to disrespect these airlines, let alone these amazing countries,” she tweeted on Monday. “I absolutely love these airlines, with the best planes and people.”

The Californian star continued, adding that she will be more responsible when bringing awareness to causes involving her “beloved Middle Eastern community”.

The New York-based star later tweeted: “This was an honest mistake on an early morning... never, ever would I intentionally try to offend anyone like that. I am so sorry.”

This isn’t the first time Hadid, and her sister Gigi, have been criticised for their comments about their Middle Eastern heritage and Muslim faith.

In September 2017, the model modelled on the cover of Vogue Arabia, months after her older sister appeared on the front of the same publication.

Several social media users argued that the publication should have employed Arabic women on the fashion magazine’s cover rather than the Hadid sisters.

Bella has spoken about her Palestinian and Muslim heritage on several occasions over the years.

In an interview with Harper’s Bazaar Arabia in 2017, the model opened up about her father’s move from Palestine to the US as a child.

"Thankfully, he was able to come, but it was very hard and now it’s probably 100 times harder," she said.

Support free-thinking journalism and subscribe to Independent Mindsnow it’s probably 100 times harder,” she told the publication.

“It makes me sad that power is getting taken from a lot of people and they’re not able to make a new life for their children and their families. It’s crazy to me that one person can tell you whether or not you can have a better life.”

The same year, the 22-year-old told Porter magazine she was “proud to be a Muslim”.

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