Kendall Jenner called out for cultural appropriation over new tequila ad
Kendall Jenner is facing criticism after appearing in another controversial ad campaign.
Just four years after her contentious Pepsi commercial, the 25-year-old model is being accused of cultural appropriation after starring in photo and video advertisements for her own newly-launched 818 tequila brand.
The campaign's images find the model wearing braided pigtails and a straw hat on her back as she rides on a horse through an agave farm in Jalisco, Mexico, where 818 tequila is produced. Jenner can also be seen raising a toast to the native farmers who grow the brand's agave.
"What an incredible experience I have had thus far, learning about this beautiful place, it’s beautiful culture, and the beautiful people!" Jenner captioned one gallery of photos she posted earlier this week on Instagram.
After the campaign debuted, many on Twitter criticized the "Keeping Up with the Kardashians" star for appropriating Mexican culture. Jenner's representatives have not responded to TODAY's request for comment.
“YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME,” one wrote. “Leave it to Kendall to be as tone-deaf as possible, this is so offensive. Modeling that chic migrant worker look."
It’s the way she’s styled the shoot. She’s 1. Using Mexican people as props. 2. She’s wearing a sombrero. 3. It’s the way she’s playing dress up as a less fortunate person, the broken truck window. It’s not 100% about the tequila, which it still is but 1/2
— bee ♡ ᡕᠵ᠊ᡃ࡚ࠢ࠘ ⸝່ࠡࠣ᠊߯᠆ࠣ࠘ᡁࠣ࠘᠊᠊ࠢ࠘𐡏~♡ (@buggab33) May 21, 2021
Some Twitter users broke down for others what they found offensive about the images.
"It’s the way she’s styled the shoot. She’s 1. Using Mexican people as props. 2. She’s wearing a sombrero. 3. It’s the way she’s playing dress up as a less fortunate person, the broken truck window. It’s not 100% about the tequila, which it still is but 1/2," a Twitter user explained.
The user added, "It’s also about the way she’s dressing up like a Mexican person. It’s wrong & super distasteful. There were other ways to market. But this one? It’s not it."
Kendall Jenner somehow found a way to make a drink commercial offensive… we are back to prepandemic normality. Someone break out the pepsi, its time for a block party!#KendallJenner #818tequila
— Bethy (She/Her) (@VilifiedHero) May 21, 2021
However, not everyone found Jenner's ads objectionable. Some came to her defense by pointing out that other celebrities, including George Clooney, Dwayne Johnson and LeBron James, have launched their tequila brands without being attacked.
I get why Kendal shouldn’t own a tequila & I’m for it BUT why don’t y’all have that same energy with every celebrity who owns a tequila that isn’t Mexican ????
— Anita life🎥 (@Anitaalife) May 20, 2021
"Kendall Jenner’s 818 tequila is no different than George Clooney’s Casamigos or The Rock’s Teramana" one fan tweeted.
The negative response to Jenner's new ad campaign reminded some of the criticism to her controversial 2017 Pepsi commercial, which showed the model turning a heated street protest into a celebration by handing a police officer a soda. (Pepsi quickly pulled the ad and apologized amid the backlash.)
"Kendall Jenner somehow found a way to make a drink commercial offensive," one user wrote. "We are back to prepandemic normality. Someone break out the Pepsi, its time for a block party!
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