Palestinian-American model Bella Hadid apologises to UAE, Saudi fans over 'racist' Instagram post
Palestinian-American model Bella Hadid has found herself ensnared in a racism row following a seemingly innocuous Instagram story she posted at an airport.
The 22-year-old supermodel, whose father is Palestinian, recently posted a photo from an airport with her leg up in the air in front of a viewing window with the caption "anotha one".
Social media users accused her of racism after many thought she was "kicking" the planes, which had UAE and Saudi flags on the aircraft liveries.
In Arab cultures, the shoe has long been used as the object of insults due to its association with dirt and with being put on the foot, the lowest part of the body.
Saudi and Emirati Twitter users even started the hashtag #BellaHadidIsRacist, while others bombarded brands such as Dior and Versace with messages demanding they stop working with the star in advertising campaigns.
Hadid deleted the image following the uproar and uploaded a lengthy apology in both Arabic and English on her social media channels, saying her post had "nothing to do with politics".
"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."
The supermodel also reassured fans that she had not noticed the planes in the background and did not intend to "disrespect" the airlines.
"I absolutely love these airlines, with the best planes and people. I want to send a sincere apology to those whoever thought I would put blame on them, especially to Saudi Arabia and the UAE."
The hashtag #BellaHadidIsRacist is still circulating online.