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Victoria’s Secret has pulled footage of a model wearing a Native American headdress from the upcoming broadcast of its annual fashion show after several groups complained.
In the fashion show, which took place Nov. 7 and will air Dec. 4 on CBS, Karlie Kloss modeled a leopard-print lingerie set while wearing the headdress, also known as a war bonnet, along with turquoise jewelry and fringe-adorned heels.
On her blog Native Appropriations, which covers the way indigenous cultures are portrayed in pop culture, blogger Adrienne K. wrote that Victoria’s Secret was guilty of “egregious cultural appropriation, stereotyping and marginalizing of Native peoples.”
Meanwhile, Indian Country columnist Ruth Hopkins wrote that she was “livid” about the company’s “mean-spirited, disrespectful trivialization of my blood ancestry and the proud Native identity I work hard to instill in my children.” She also called for a boycott of the company and went on to explain why the incident was offensive.
“Let’s peel away the layers of this tacky, racist onion,” she wrote. “For one, Ms. Kloss has no business wearing a war bonnet at all. Not only is she not Native, she hasn’t earned the honor. Among my people, the Oceti Sakowin (Sioux), war bonnets are exclusively worn by men, and each feather within a war bonnet is symbolic of a brave act of valor accomplished by that man. Not just any Tom, Dick or Harry had the privilege of wearing a war bonnet. Who wears a war bonnet? Tatanka Iyotanka, Sitting Bull. Not a no-account waif paid to prance around on stage in her underwear.”
Over the weekend, Victoria’s Secret tweeted an apology to its 1.4 million followers and said the footage won’t be shown on TV.
“We are sorry that the Native American headdress in our fashion show has upset individuals,” the message read. “The outfit will be removed from the broadcast.”
For her part, Kloss also apologized via Twitter.
“I am deeply sorry if what I wore during the VS Show offended anyone,” she wrote. “I support VS’s decision to remove the outfit from the broadcast.”
Incidentally, the news comes just days after No Doubt pulled the music video for “Looking Hot” from YouTube after the clip received criticism for its appropriation of Native American culture.
Although the video has been removed from YouTube, E! Online wrote that the video featured Stefani in a Halloween-ready Native American costume, while bassist Tony Kanal is a tribesman who helps the singer escape from her cowboy captors, played by Adrian Young and Tom Dumont. There was a teepee, lots of feathers and a general “Wild Wild West” vibe.
The group later issued an apology.
Rihanna, Justin Bieber and Bruno Mars performed during this year’s Victoria’s Secret fashion show, which also included a $2.5 million “fantasy bra.”
Last year’s telecast, which featured performances from Maroon 5, Kanye West, Jay-Z and Nicki Minaj, drew 11.5 million viewers and its best adults 18-49 and 18-34 ratings to date.
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