Bella Hadid Issues Apology After Shoe Photo Sparks Accusations of Racism

Bella Hadid issued an apology yesterday for a photo posted to her Instagram page that set off accusations of racism by some people who deemed it culturally insensitive to members of Arab and muslim communities.

Hadid, 22, posted an image of her shoe ⁠—⁠ a black boot with a cakestand heel — resting against an airport window, where her soles were faced toward planes from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. In some cultures, showing the bottom of your feet or shoes is considered offensive.

Bella Hadid shoe photo, plane, instagram
Bella Hadid responds to fans about an image shared on Instagram.
CREDIT: Bella Hadid/Instagram

Critics began using the hashtag #BellaHadidIsRacist on social media, flooding the star’s page with comments and calling for brands that work with her ⁠— including Calvin Klein, Dior and Versace ⁠— to cut ties.

Hadid, who identifies as Muslim and is Palestinian on her father’s side, responded to the criticism on Twitter and Instagram, writing a lengthy post apologizing for “an honest mistake on an early morning.” The model posted the image while en route to New York after walking in the Versace show at Milan Fashion Week Men’s. 

“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,” she wrote. “I have never been one and will never be one to talk down these countries… Only to spread love, and the true beauty of them, as I was taught by my Teta [“grandmother”] and my father. To feel as if I have disappointed you is what hurts me the most.”

“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,” 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.

In another follow-up tweet, she added: “Never, ever would I intentionally try to offend anyone like that. I am so sorry.”

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