Model Kendall Jenner drew the ire of her followers and social justice advocates on social media this week after captioning a photo with a “fist” emoji that some users complained was not close enough in color to her actual skin tone.
The trouble apparently started when Jenner posted a photo to her Twitter account on Wednesday showing off the cover of next month’s issue of the Hollywood Reporter, which features the model alongside her famous family members, including sisters Kylie Jenner, Kim, Khloe, and Kourtney Kardashian, and their mother, Kris Jenner.
“Sister power…girl power,” she captioned the photo, along with an emoji of a fist.
sister power…girl power 👊🏽 pic.twitter.com/QzIziXVV0A
— Kendall (@KendallJenner) August 16, 2017
Some of Jenner’s followers replied to the model’s post, accusing her of cultural appropriation for using an emoji that they said did not match her skin color.
Me looking at the color of that emoji pic.twitter.com/M6DiOlykru
— Alexis 🌍🔬 (@TrackCityChick) August 18, 2017
You mean *👊🏻
— la chaparita (@laqueennnn) August 21, 2017
Y'all are not black. Next time use a white emoji
— shawna🌻 (@Shawnaloveeee_) August 19, 2017
girl WHERE TF THAT BROWN FIST COME FROM ? u pale as ever
— TEF LONDON (@YvesSaintLondon) August 20, 2017
“Y’all are not black,” one user wrote to Jenner. “Next time use a white emoji.”
Still, other users came to her defense, admonishing the others for focusing on the emoji color.
its an emoji, not her stomping on the flag or burning a cross. I don't even like the Kardashians but DAMN y'all are bored. #gooutside!!!
— RAIN🌬 (@rainbeauxrod) August 21, 2017
We really offended by emojis now?? Her sisters are not white. Grow up.
— HannahMLCampbell (@HannahMCampbell) August 21, 2017
get a grip and leave the girl alone 🙅🏿🙅🙅🏼🙅🏽who gives a sh*t about an emoji. Any excuse, there is worse things going on in the world as it is
— Jodi Toms (@JodiToms) August 21, 2017
This is hardly the first time Jenner has come under fire for cultural appropriation.
In April, the young reality TV star was roundly criticized for appearing in a Pepsi advertisement that appeared to appropriate the Black Lives Matter movement to sell soda. In the ad, Jenner, in the midst of a photo shoot, wanders out into the street to join a nondescript social protest. When she hands a can of soda to a police officer, and he drinks it, the crowd cheers. Numerous critics mocked both Jenner and Pepsi for the ad, claiming that it had attempted to cash in on the trendiness of social justice protests.
In May, the model again found herself in the center of cultural controversy after she was chosen as the cover star for Vogue India‘s 10th anniversary issue, with critics complaining that the publication should have chosen an Indian star for its commemorative cover.
And in June, both Kendall and Kylie Jenner annoyed the relatives of some famous musical artists after selling so-called “vintage” t-shirts featuring the likenesses of several music icons, including rappers The Notorious B.I.G. and 2Pac, and the rocker Ozzy Osbourne.
Ozzy’s wife Sharon Osbourne and Biggie’s mother, Voletta Wallace, were among those who called out the sisters, accusing them of appropriating the work of other musicians for their own profit.
Kendall later apologized for the shirts on her social media accounts, writing that the designs were “not well thought out.”
Follow Daniel Nussbaum on Twitter: @dznussbaum