American model Bella Hadid, who is of Palestinian and Dutch descent, has issued an apology on her Instagram stories to Arab and Muslim people — and particularly to the UAE and Saudi Arabia — after a photo of hers was deemed offensive.
Hadid earlier posted a picture in an airport with her leg raised and her shoe hoisted near a window. The logo of Emirates Airlines and Saudi Arabian Airlines were visible on the tails of two parked aeroplanes outside, which appeared immediately below her foot.
“Anotha one,” Hadid wrote on the photo.
Some took offence and considered this to be a disrespectful or deliberate gesture. On social media, there were calls for luxury brand Dior to discontinue work with the model. Hadid was quick to clarify that the now-deleted image was not intentional nor did it have political motivations, as she apologised in both an English and Arabic statement.
“I have always tried to stand up for what I feel is right, especially regarding the great Middle East. 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 [grandmother] and my father,” wrote Hadid.
Hadid’s father is the Palestinian real estate mogul Mohammad Hadid, who has long been outspoken about Palestine and the right to return.
Writing that she had not noticed the aeroplanes in the background of her photo, Hadid said she would never use her platform to post hate against “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.”
Hadid continued: “I want to send a sincere apology to those who ever thought I would put the blame on them, especially to Saudi Arabia and the UAE… This was never the case, and I hope you can understand the misunderstanding,” wrote Hadid.
The 22-year-old model added that she would be more responsible when bringing awareness to all causes, including the Middle Eastern community.