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Last week, model Gigi Hadid came under fire (opens in new tab) after it was announced she would be returning to the annual Victoria's Secret Fashion Show (opens in new tab), this year scheduled to take place in Shanghai.
An Instagram video posted by her sister Bella in February appeared to show the 22-year-old model squinting her eyes as she held up a Buddha biscuit, a move critics argue is an impersonation of the religious figure.
As a result, hundreds of fans took to social media to condemn the New York-based star and comment that she wasn't welcome in China.
this is y'all woke palestine queen? Gigi out here mocking Asian people. i would say she's cancelled but she never started. rat @GiGiHadid pic.twitter.com/b6wj5k1sXEFebruary 5, 2017
In response, Gigi—who celebrated Eid al-Adha (opens in new tab) with hers and Zayn Malik's mothers over the weekend—disabled her Instagram comments and has now reportedly made an apology to her fans on the Chinese social media site Weibo.
In the statement, captured by Twitter user @mr_jielin, the model wrote a post in both Mandarin and English that read:
"It hurts me to hurt anyone, and I want you all to know that it was never my intent to offend anyone through my actions and I sincerely apologize to those who were hurt or felt let down by me. I have the utmost respect and love for the people of China and cherish the incredible memories I have made while visiting in the past."
"I have learned to be very careful of how my actions can come off or be portrayed and I'm hopeful you'll accept my apology. I hope to meet many of you and let you get to know me for me. I do not condone hurtful behavior and want people and fans of all backgrounds to know they are welcomed, loved and respected around me and by me," she concluded.
Despite the heartfelt apology, some of the California-born star's fans weren't impressed that she posted her apology on a microblogging site used primarily in China, rather than on her other social media sites that can be accessed internationally.
Katie O’Malley is the Deputy Digital Editor, at ELLE UK. On a daily basis you’ll find her managing all digital workflow, editing site, video and social media content, liaising with commercial and sales teams on new partnerships and deals, implementing new digital strategies and compiling endless data traffic, SEO and ecomm reports. Since joining in 2016, Katie has written features on everything from sex addiction, and the use of tear gas during protests to virtual cuddling, ‘friendship fade’ and access to contraception post Brexit. Her list of interviewees over the years include those with Oprah Winfrey, Benedict Cumberbatch, Reese Witherspoon, Emma Stone, Zoe Kravitz etc.
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