Priyanka Chopra apologizes for insulting refugees on her 'Condé Nast Traveller' cover

Source: AP

Priyanka Chopra has kind of apologized for wearing a white tank top deemed insulting toward refugees on the cover of Condé Nast Traveller's India version.

The actress was featured on the Indian version of the magazine's sixth anniversary edition wearing a white tank top with the words "refugee," "immigrant" and "outsider" crossed out in red. At the bottom of the shirt — the only word not crossed out — was the word "traveller."

Critics on social media called out Chopra, who is not a refugee, for being insensitive toward the tens of millions of refugees worldwide. Her shirt, they argued, implied people can choose whether to be refugees — and that people who are refugees should be ashamed of their status.

In an interview with Indian news broadcaster New Delhi Television, Chopra said she didn't mean to offend people with her shirt, and that people misinterpreted the shirt's meaning.

"I'm really apologetic about sentiments being hurt," Chopra said to NDTV. "I have always been against labels. I am very affected and feel really horrible, but the message has been misconstrued. The magazine was very clear that they wanted to send a message about addressing xenophobia with labels."

In response to the backlash, Condé Nast Traveller issued a statement over the controversial tank top.

"It's about how our labelling of people as immigrants, refugees and outsiders is creating a culture of xenophobia," the statement read. 

The statement goes on to condemn the racism and bigotry refugees often face when they flee atrocities of war in their home country. The statement then said "we're all travelers" — a claim some may consider belittling to the very real plights migrants and refugees have to endure.

"Whether we are moving across oceans or just a few kilometers, or in our mind's eye, into a completely different world, whether we are doing so due to free will or circumstance — we are all travelers," the statement said. 

While the statement may be powerful in certain accounts, the magazine should be aware that the refugee crisis is a serious humanitarian issue — not a lighthearted trend to help generate profits.

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Sarah A. Harvard

Sarah is a staff writer covering religion, race and politics. Her work has appeared in The Guardian, The Atlantic, Slate, The Huffington Post, TeenVogue, and VICE. Send tips and feedback: sharvard@mic.com

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