Offended fans accused the 22-year-old model of racism after she posted the picture on her Instagram story Sunday, showing her outstretched lower leg as she sat in an airport and her shoe. In the background were airliners from the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.
Many Arab cultures consider shoes dirty, and showing the soles of shoes is a sign of disrespect. The Twitter hashtag #BellaHadidIsRacist began trending shortly afterward Hadid posted the photo.
Hadid, whose father is Palestinian American, apologized on Monday on her Twitter and Instagram accounts, calling it “an honest mistake on an early morning.”
Hadid said on Instagram story that she “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 said, further apologizing for “disrespect” to the airlines and to the “amazing countries.”
“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 added.
Some fans still weren’t satisfied.
“Bella Hadid spreads hate towards our countries UAE & Saudi Arabia, it’s not your first time!,” one commenter tweeted, calling on Dior to stop using Hadid in its advertising.
Others said things like “it’s too late hun” and “apology not accepted,” and threatened to boycott products from brands she works with.