Israel’s most popular model, Bar Refaeli, is facing accusations of Islamophobia after promoting a clothing commercial that celebrated ‘freedom’ by showing Refaeli taking off a niqab. Refaeli shared the ad for Israeli company Hoodies on her Instagram page on October 29 alongside the caption: “I have a question for you.” In the video, the question, “Iran is here?” flashes across the screen while a niqab-clad Refaeli stares at the viewer, before the model suddenly removes the niqab and reveals she’s wearing a T-shirt and jeans underneath it. The name of the ad campaign is “Freedom is basic.”
Blowback against the ad was immediate, as social media users swiftly condemned it as racist, Islamophobic, and disrespectful to women who choose to wear the hijab or niqab. “To say that we don’t have freedom of choice is taking away our freedom of choice. That’s the irony of all this. The ones that believe we’re oppressed are the oppressors,” explained Marwa Balkar, one of the first to speak out against and share the video, in comments made to BuzzFeed.
“My idea of freedom is wearing hijab,” noted Twitter user themodestvoerup. “If I want to wear niqab I will. This is what creates Islamophobia.”
Hoodies and Refaeli have since deleted the ad from their Instagram pages, but a version of it still exists on YouTube. Ahead of its release, the clothing company had claimed that the ad campaign was intended to “call out racism and bigotry and support freedom.”
See video of the ad below.
Read the full story at BuzzFeed.