PARIS: British model Amena Khan, who had been chosen by a French cosmetics brand, L’Oréal, to appear in an advertising campaign in Britain, has pulled out over accusations that she made anti-Israeli comments in a series of old tweets.
The French cosmetics giant last week selected her to be the first woman in a hijab for a mainstream shampoo campaign.
Khan’s messages, posted on Twitter in 2014, have since been deleted.
“I deeply regret the content of the tweets I made in 2014, and sincerely apologise for the upset and hurt that they have caused,” she said on Twitter.
“With deep regret, I’ve decided to step down from this campaign because the current conversations surrounding it detract from the positive and inclusive sentiment that it set out to deliver.”
— Amena (@amenaofficial) January 22, 2018
The brand also said, it “approved” her decision.
“We appreciate the fact that Amena has apologised for the content of her tweets and for the reactions they may have aroused,” it said.
Amena Khan, who runs the Pearl Daisy fashion blog, became L’Oreal’s only hijab-wearing model to front its haircare campaign, less than a week ago.
Critics were disappointed in how L’Oreal and Khan handled the backlash following the anti-Israel tweets.
British journalist Sunny Hundal tweeted: “A British Muslim woman has been hounded out from an ad campaign for being critical of Israel. So criticising countries is racist now?
“Where are those defenders of free speech now?”
Journalist Yasmina said she was disappointed Khan regretted her messages.
The British online magazine, Media Diversified, tweeted: “Amena has stepped down from the L’Oreal campaign after her old tweets criticizing Israel were unearthed.
“Another situation where women of colour are good enough to front a campaign…until they have an opinion. Then all hell breaks loose.”
Amena has stepped down from the L’Oréal campaign after her old tweets criticizing Israel were unearthed.
-another situation where women of colour are good enough to front a campaign.. until they have an opinion.
Then all hell breaks loose. https://t.co/KstXcapEaN
— Media Diversified (@WritersofColour) January 22, 2018
Journalist Areeb Ullah noted a “double standard”, saying Israeli actress Gal Gadot was not forced to apologise after supporting Israel’s war in Gaza.
Notice the double standard.
Gal Gadot: Ex Israeli soldier who openly supported the IDF’s 2014 war in Gaza that killed 2,200 Palestinians. Not forced to apologise
Amena Khan: Muslim woman who tweeted support for Palestinian children killed in Gaza 2014. Forced to apologise.
— Areeb Ullah (@are_eb) January 22, 2018
It is not the first time the brand’s advertising campaign to promote diversity has foundered because of controversial social media comments by a model.
Last summer the group dropped British black transgender model Munroe Bergdorf over Facebook comments she made accusing all whites of racial violence.