DUBAI: Images of US-Palestinian model Bella Hadid have been pulled down in some Dior outlets in the UAE, according to local media reports.
The move follows uproar on social media last week after the 22-year-old model committed a seemingly innocuous faux pas on social media. It all kicked off when the 22-year-old supermodel uploaded a photo to her Instagram Stories on Monday, showing her boot pictured in front of an Emirates plane and a Saudia plane.
The hashtag #BellaHadidIsRacist started trending as some social media users felt the model was being disrespectful, but she quickly took to the Internet to set the record straight, saying “this was an honest mistake on an early morning” in a tweet.
Her father, real estate developer Mohamed Hadi, meanwhile has broken his silence to defend Bella who has “been targeted by jealous individuals and trolls who wish to destroy her career.”
In an exclusive interview with Arabian Business, Mohamed said: “Arabs don’t do that to their own. She is a proud Arab and a proud Muslim. There are many people with their own agendas, mostly out of jealousy for her success, that are trying to bring her down. 95 percent of the backlash on social media is coming from paid trolls – just open any of these accounts and most of them are fake.”
“Do you really think she was walking around the airport and trying to find those two exact airplanes right next to each other to take an intentional picture like that? She can’t even walk in the mall without thousands of fans following her around. She was tired, waiting for her flight in the airline lounge and just took a picture. No one in our family would ever disrespect any Arab country ...,” Mohamed, the founder of Hadid Design and Development Group, added.
Mohamed likewise said Bella has been a champion of Arab causes, and has never been shy to lend her voice and support.
However, some social media users demanded that her campaign images in the region should be pulled.
“For appeasement, Parfums Christian Dior has removed its visuals of Bella Hadid in The Dubai Mall,” a spokesperson told local media outlets in a released statement this week.
“Thanks for your concern,” The Dubai Mall wrote on Twitter in response to the demands on social media. “We ensure you that our nation and region’s cultural sensitivities are respected. We have brought the matter to the attention of the retailers concerned to take appropriate steps.”
Meanwhile, Mall of the Emirates, another favorite Dubai, tweeted: “Hello, a recent incident with a model for one of the brands at Mall of the Emirates is in no way associated with the mall, and does not reflect our values.”