French fashion legend Carine Roitfeld issued a public apology on Wednesday, after an Instagram post of her with black model Anok Yai was slammed as “tone-deaf,” “deeply offensive” and “self-serving.”
Earlier this week, as millions of social media users showed their support for the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of George Floyd’s death, the 65-year-old CR Fashion Book founder shared a photo of herself embracing the South Sudanese beauty.
Roitfeld captioned the image, “Miss you,” later adding a comment that read, “Anok is not a black woman, she is my friend.”
The post was later deleted, but not before Diet Prada shared it — along with a handful of comments from horrified Instagram users.
“Before the murder of George Floyd you never posted a black woman before,” one read. “Do not use her skin to make you feel better about the casual everyday racism you participate in. This is DEEPLY offensive.”
“She is most definitely A BLACK WOMAN and the fact you think you have to erase her race to make this point is part of the problem,” another captured comment read.
Others shared their thoughts in the comments of Diet Prada’s post. “Lol she could’ve used her major platform of 1.7 mil followers to make some impact but instead she resorts to tokenism and using her as a prop :-/,” one wrote. “SO tone deaf, it’s embarrassing,” another added.
Roitfeld posted a lengthy apology Wednesday night. “I would like to sincerely apologize for my previous comments that were posted on social media,” it began. “My intent was to express love and support for my dear friend, Anok Yai – not to deafen my message. I realize that I caused further pain and hurt to the very community that I was looking to support.”
Continued the editor’s message, “I am learning from this experience and will continue to use my platform and voice to create opportunities for change. Anok you are a beautiful, strong and talented Black woman and I meant absolutely no harm. I only meant to send a message of support to you and your family.”
Calling her earlier post “a grave error,” Roitfeld concluded, “I vow to continue to focus my efforts and stand up to these injustices to support and further create opportunities that amplify the black community and their voices in the fight against systemic racism.”
Representatives for both Roitfeld and Next Models, Yai’s agency, did not immediately respond to Page Six Style’s request for comment.