Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 July 2019

Bella Hadid apologises for offending some UAE and Saudi fans on Instagram

A selfie of the supermodel's foot, taken in front of planes featuring flags, caused offence to some of her followers

Bella Hadid has apologised for insulting some fans with a photograph that featured both a UAE and Saudi Arabian plane. Reuters
Bella Hadid has apologised for insulting some fans with a photograph that featured both a UAE and Saudi Arabian plane. Reuters

Bella Hadid has released an apology to the people of the UAE and Saudi Arabia, after a recent post on her Instagram account was accused of being disrespectful.

The 22-year-old supermodel has assured fans the image, which showed her foot in front of planes bearing flags from the two nations, was an "honest mistake".

The star, who was raised in the US by her Dutch mother Yolanda and Palestinian father Mohamed, uploaded the picture to her Instagram Stories on Monday.

The snap shows Hadid's boot against an airport window, with planes from Saudi Arabia and the UAE, flags emblazoned on their tails, on the tarmac underneath.

Fans subsequently took to social media to express their anger, explaining to the model why the positioning of her foot, in particular, was so disrespectful.

Several also called for brands, such as Dior, to stop working with the star in advertising campaigns.

Hadid subsequently deleted the image, instead uploading a lengthy apology in both English and Arabic to her social media channels, expressing that her actions had “nothing to do with politics".

Says she only wants to spread the 'beauty' of the UAE

"I would never want my posts or platform to be used for hate against anyone, especially those of my own beautiful and powerful heritage," she wrote. "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.”

Hadid, who has frequently spoken about her appreciation of her Palestinian roots, added that she would never knowingly speak ill of the UAE or Saudi Arabia.

“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 assured fans that she had not noticed the planes in the background, and her intention was never to "disrespect these airlines, let alone these amazing countries".

"I absolutely love these airlines, with the best planes and people. 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.”

Hadid concluded by sharing her hopes that her fans, of which she has more than 24 million on Instagram, would forgive the "misunderstanding".

“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.”

The hashtag #BellaHadidIsRacist is, however, still circulating.

But Hadid revealed that she is "proud to be a Muslim" in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s attempted travel bans in 2017.

“My dad was a refugee when he first came to America, so it’s actually very close to home for my sister and brother and me,” she told fashion magazine Porter of Trump’s attempted travel bans.

“He was always religious, and he always prayed with us."

Updated: June 18, 2019 11:27 AM

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