Another ‘Bombshell’ for Victoria’s Secret

Victoria’s Secret received backlash from the Native American community Wednesday night after model Karlie Kloss strutted down the runway decked out in a traditional Native American headdress during the lingerie company’s annual fashion show.

Sadly, this is not the first offense for the lingerie brand in the ethnicity department. As I wrote in a previous blog post, Victoria’s Secret first encountered attacks back in September over their “Go East” lingerie line that portrayed model Rosie Huntington Whiteley as a Geisha, “mocking” Asian culture.

To add insult to injury, some believe that Kloss donned the headdress as a slight to her ex-boyfriend, St. Louis Ram’s quarterback Sam Bradford, who is a member of the Native American Cherokee tribe. Surely, no person could be so cruel. The model took to her Twitter following the incident saying:

Personally, I don’t believe Kloss intentionally chose to wear the controversial accessory, but was merely doing as she was told. Victoria’s Secret, on the other hand, should know better by now considering this isn’t the first time the brand has come under fire for the same affront. VS continues to demonstrate inconsiderate and insensitive behavior, but apologized for the blunder.

We are sorry that the Native American headdress replica used in our recent fashion show has upset individuals. We sincerely apologize as we absolutely had no intention to offend anyone. Out of respect, we will not be including the outfit in any broadcast, marketing materials nor in any other way.

The blog Native Appropriations, a forum for discussing all things related to indigenous culture, called VS out for “…their egregious cultural appropriation, stereotyping, and marginalizing of Native peoples,” as well as several other designer brands and celebrities for making similar mistakes.

Earlier this week, the band No Doubt was hit with criticism over their newly released music video for “Looking Hot” in which Gwen Stefani wears the traditional Cherokee headdress. The band members played “cowboys and indians” in the video, offending the Native American community. The band removed the video shortly after its debut and sent out a public apology.

In retrospect, I’m sure each offender feels bad for their mistake and will–hopefully–think twice next time before they dress or behave in an offensive manner. Honestly, it is hard to catch actions or thoughts that may be offensive to some cultures, which leads me to question whether or not culturally diversifying one’s staff would benefit the media relations for a company.

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