Bella Hadid has a Japanese alter ego named Rebekka Harajuku, who even has her own Instagram account with a growing follower base.
However, netizens are calling her out for the alleged cultural appropriation her Asian persona promotes.
The account, rebekkaharajuku, which features the 22-year-old model sporting a blonde wig, only has seven photos so far, but it has already accumulated over 21,000 followers as of this writing.
On the surface, “Rebekka Harajuku” appears to be a harmless character, shown in her photos shopping and having fun with some of her friends in Tokyo, Japan.
But some have pointed out that the images of her posing with chopsticks and peace signs also show a twisted mockery of the nation’s people and its culture.
In one photo, she refers to her best friend, Fanny Bourdette-Donon, who is pictured with her holding chopsticks, as “Jenny Nogizaka.”
In another, she stands with a blank expression and peace sign pose beside a Japanese doorman at a hotel in Shibuya.
Rebekka Harajuku may seem like a joke to Hadid, but many believe tokenizing Japanese people through “comedic” attire and poses is never funny.
Parodying the Japanese culture is not only problematic because it reinforces many stereotypes — it also reduces the Japanese people as mere punchlines for these so-called celebrities’ unfunny jokes.
Naturally, many Twitter users expressed their dismay over Hadid’s Japanese persona.
Last year, Hadid’s sister Gigi angered Asian netizens for mocking Chinese people by posing in the camera while squinting her eyes. Despite the model’s multiple public apologies, many Asians have dismissed the efforts as mere damage control attempts by her PR team.
Images via Instagram / Rebekka Harajuku