Model and actress Lily Cole has apologised after posting an Instagram picture of herself posing in a burka to “embrace her diversity”.
The image, which was posted to promote Cole’s new book, was blasted by critics for being culturally insensitive and ill-timed as political unrest continues in Afghanistan.
Cole now says she wants to “sincerely apologise for any offence caused”.
The model’s initial Instagram story contained two images: one of her in a blue burka covering her face and body, and a second photo in which the clothing was pulled up to show her face.
Cole’s caption read: “Let’s embrace diversity on every level – biodiversity; cultural diversity; diversity of thinking; diversity of voices; diversity of ideas.”
In her apology, Cole explained she had shared “an old photo” of her wearing the burqa that had been loaned by a friend.
Lily Cole & the vacuity of modern hashtag-feminism. Putting Instagram posturing before universal human rights. I bet Afghan women are celebrating the “diversity” of wearing this shroud. pic.twitter.com/5unfIZrqXg
— Janice Turner (@VictoriaPeckham) August 16, 2021
“As she pointed out I was undermining its original purpose by wearing it with my face exposed, but I understand why the image has upset people and want to sincerely apologise for any offence caused,” Cole said.
“I hadn’t read the news at the time I posted so it was incredibly ill-timed. Thank you for pointing that out to me.”
It came days after the Taliban assumed full control of Afghanistan once more, with the Islamist group ousting Afghanistan’s government over the weekend.
“My heart breaks reading about what is happening in Afghanistan,” added Cole. She then went on to share fundraising links for a series of groups that are helping people within the country.