Elle Germany apologizes for race coverage in latest issue fans call 'insulting'

Fans are calling the magazine's latest issue offensive and culturally insensitive.
Elle Germany
In a statement, the editor-in-chief admitted they "made several mistakes" in the issue.ELLE

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/ Source: TODAY
By Chrissy Callahan

Elle Germany's November issue is going viral for all the wrong reasons.

The fashion magazine is facing criticism from all corners of the world after publishing an issue that many readers say is disgraceful and culturally insensitive.

On Tuesday, Instagram account Diet Prada posted a photo of the magazine's feature on several "models of color." At first glance, the photo spread seems innocent enough and could've been a great opportunity to highlight some talented ladies, but readers quickly spotted a few issues.

For starters, the top of the page reads "Black is back," and @diet_prada had some thoughts on Elle Germany's choice of words: "Ironic when they, along with much of the fashion industry, have been complicit in denying visibility to black models until relatively recently."

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Eagle-eyed readers also spotted a pretty serious typo in the feature, noticing that the magazine added a photo of model Naomi Chin Wing where one of another model, Janaye Furman, was supposed to be.

The November issue, which highlights black clothing along with other seasonal themes, features a white model on the cover alongside a headline that reads "Back to black."

Instagram users quickly took to the comments section, calling the magazine's gaffes "disgusting," "disgraceful" and "an embarrassment." Instagram user @gracevenescaffi spoke for many readers, writing Jeez ☠️ that’s crazy that it managed to go through all the levels of editors and made it to print."

Fashion legend Naomi Campbell joined the conversation, saying the situation made her "so sad to see," and issued the following statement: "your mistake it is highly insulting in every way, .. you go further to say that BACK TO BLACK, even if you ment the fashion it’s is misleading on your headline and Type !! ! I’ve said countless of times we are not a TREND. We are here to STAY. It’s ok to celebrate models of color but please do it in an ELEGANT and RESPECTFUL way."

Campbell also directed a message to the publication, saying that she and fellow models Bethann Hardison and Iman would be happy to sit down and offer their guidance. "If you would like a conversation to know how to have A diverse mind we are here to sit and accommodate. It’s very important for a publication to be culturally sensitive and give credit where it’s due . We all need to unite on this matter," she wrote.

In her post, Campbell also referenced a similar snafu from Who Magazine earlier this year. The Australian title landed itself in hot water this August when they published a story on supermodel Adut Akech but featured a photo of a different black model. At the time, Akech spoke out on the matter, writing, "This would've not happened to a white model."

In a statement posted to the magazine's Instagram account, Elle Germany shared an apology:

"In our current issue we are approaching the colour black from different angles. As one of our topics, it was our aim to feature strong black women who work as models for the fashion industry. In doing so, we have made several mistakes for which we apologize to anyone we might have hurt. It was a mistake to use the cover line 'Back to black' which could be understood as if black persons would be a kind of fashion trend. This obviously wasn't our intention and it was our mistake not to be more sensitive about this."

The magazine expressed their regrets to models Naomi Chin Wing and Janaye Furman: "Misidentifying the model Naomi Chin Wing as Janaye Furman is a further error for which we apologize. We are aware of how problematic this is. This has definitely been a learning experience for us and, again, we deeply regret any harm or hurt we have unwittingly caused."