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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 21 November 2018

'Racist' Israeli ad sparks online storm for supermodel Bar Refaeli

Sportswear brand 'frees' model by tearing off niqab

A still from the controversial Hoodies ad
A still from the controversial Hoodies ad

Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli has sparked a furious online reaction after appearing in a “racist” ad for Israeli sportswear brand Hoodies.

The ad shows Refaeli initially wearing a niqab – the full head and face covering preferred by some Muslim women – alongside the caption “Iran is here?” in Hebrew. Refaeli then tears off the covering, while the slogan “freedom is basic” is stated on the backing track.

It’s short, nonsensical, and probably best just ignored, but the internet has, predictably, erupted, which is no doubt exactly what Hoodies was aiming for.

Some users called the model out for racism:

Others accused her of Islamophobia:

A number of Muslim women pointed out that their decision to wear the niqab or hijab is a form of expressing freedom in itself:

and others called on brands like Cosmopolitan to drop the model:

There were, of course, some users who were fully behind the ad:

Perhaps the last word should go to Jenna Naser, however, who noted on Refaeli’s Facebook, where she had shared the ad: “Respecting other woman's choices and not being RACIST is also ‘BASIC’.”

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