Israeli supermodel Bar Refaeli appeared in a controversial commercial that ended up being eliminated after an intense rainfall of criticism.
The Hoodies campaign begins with Refaeli wearing a traditional niqab, accompanied by the Hebrew text, “Is this Iran? Next, the model takes off her niqab to show off dressed in jeans and a sweater, while the text “Freedom is Basic” appears.
The campaign was harshly criticized on social networks by Muslims and non-Muslims alike,
Some called the model out for racism:
@BarRefaeli you’re disgusting n racist. freedom should be about wearing what makes you feel good and free. if you showed your belly that doesn’t mean you’re free. free your mind first n don’t forget you live in israel which has arab in it and that ain’t a good business strategy— Odai Shams (@AudaiShms) October 29, 2018
Others accused her of Islamophobia:
A commercial launched by the Israeli super model @BarRefaeli pushing the Islamophopic narrative of the oppressed woman taking off her hijab and get liberated.— Don Abdo ⚜️ (@Abd_HajYahia) October 30, 2018
In my society women who wear a hijab are just as free as every other women. So U know where to push ur freedom propaganda pic.twitter.com/Gp2qhURCRs
A number of Muslim women pointed out that their decision to wear the niqab or hijab is a form of expressing freedom in itself:
Others called on brands like Cosmopolitan to drop the model:
Ad depicts @BarRefaeli taking off a niqab followed by lyrics "finally freedom". This is disgusting. Expecting companies like @Cosmopolitan & @giorgioarmani to drop her, unless y'all are cool with a brand ambassador spreading messages like this. pic.twitter.com/fkHpdojOAI— Mαrωα 🥀 (@MarwaBalkar) October 30, 2018
There were, of course, some users who were fully behind the ad:
Hoodies responded after the wave of criticism: ”If we offended someone, we regret it. Our new campaign is designed to inspire people of all faiths, races and genders to follow their own path and express their freedom in whatever way they choose.
Refaeli ended up removing the video from her official Instagram account.