Supermodel sisters Gigi and Bella Hadid, the daughters of real estate developer Mohamed Hadid, are arguably the most famous Palestinians in the English speaking world. They are also extremely vocal about their beliefs that Palestine should be free of illegal occupation.
In an Instagram post on Sunday, Gigi Hadid posted that she would be donating her earnings from Fashion Month to Ukranian and Palestinian causes, stating, “I am pledging to donate my earnings from the Fall 2022 shows to aid those suffering from the war in Ukraine, as well as continuing to support those experiencing the same in Palestine.”
Vogue covered Hadid’s announcement in an article titled “Gigi Hadid Is Donating Her Fashion Month Earnings to Ukrainian Relief,” which quoted her caption almost in full. Vogue promoted the article on its official Instagram with a post whose caption originally started as follows:
Today, @Gigihadid announced that she will be donating all of her fashion month earnings towards relief efforts in Ukraine, “as well as continuing to support those experiencing the same in Palestine.”
A day after the photo was posted, its caption was edited to omit the quote from Hadid’s original statement mentioning Palestine. Beyond Instagram, the actual Vogue story was also edited to remove one of the two original instances of Palestine being mentioned — specifically a quote of the final line of Hadid’s post, reading “HANDS OFF UKRAINE. HANDS OFF PALESTINE. PEACE. PEACE. PEACE.”
Before Vogue’s caption was edited, comments bombarded the post from luminaries like Entourage’s Emmanuelle Chriqui accusing Vogue of “fanning the flames of anti Semitism [sic].” Vogue has not released a statement on exactly why the caption was changed — again they were merely directly quoting Hadid herself, whose Instagram post they were reporting on. But if anything, this is a perfect example of how merely saying the words “Palestine” or “Palestinian” is considered inherently political and dangerous.
Speaking freely about Palestine is typically not an easy thing to do, even for the rich and famous. In the spring of 2021, when national attention turned towards the forced expulsion of Palestinians in the occupied Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah (which escalated into a bombardment of Gaza), even the likes of Mark Ruffalo felt the need to apologize for using the word “genocide” when talking about occupation. Just earlier this year, Emma Watson’s pro-Palestinian Instagram post sparked accusations of antisemitism. When the Hadid sisters and Dua Lipa spoke out against the occupation in 2021, an entire ad was purchased in the New York Times calling them antisemites and encouraging readers to “CONDEMN THEM NOW.” As for non-celebrities, there is an entire website dedicated to doxxing those who show support of Palestine.
Somehow, a major publication scrambling to edit out the word “Palestine” from an article and social media post about a Palestinian supermodel donating to Palestinian relief did not ring cancel-culture alarm bells for any of the various commentators who spend their days scouring the internet for instances of self-censorship.