Actor Chris Hemsworth became the subject of social media scorn over the weekend for wearing a Native American-themed costume at a New Year’s party.
The actor’s wife, model Elsa Pataky, posted a photo to her Instagram account on Thursday showing the Thor star dressed up as a Native American along with other revelers at a “Wild West”-themed party over the holiday weekend.
The post quickly gathered more than 20,000 “likes” and hundreds of comments. But sensitive social media users were quick to accuse Hemsworth of cultural appropriation.
“As a Native American woman and a fan of all your movies please know how hurtful this is to myself and all my Native people,” one commenter wrote underneath the photo.
“I’m Native American, full-blooded Navajo,” wrote another. “[A]nd to see a picture of people dressed as my ancestors did is a huge slap of disrespect to my ancestors… I was a big fan of your work, Chris Hemsworth, [but] after seeing this post, I’m no longer a fan.”
Hemsworth is hardly the only entertainer to be accused of cultural appropriation, in which one takes on, or “appropriates,” the items or symbols of another culture while disregarding their inherent meaning or religious significance.
Supermodel Heidi Klum and rapper MIA have both been accused of cultural appropriation, as have pop stars Katy Kerry and Miley Cyrus. Last month, Oberlin College famously freaked out about the culturally appropriative practices of its school’s cafeteria, while the University of Ottawa in Canada cancelled its free weekly yoga sessions when students claimed the workout was appropriated from cultures that “have experienced oppression, cultural genocide and diasporas due to colonialism and western supremacy.”
Of course, not all of the commenters on Hemsworth’s photo minded the actor’s costume choice.
“People are far too sensitive,” one user wrote.