Once upon a time, there was this type of human being called celebrities. Celebrities lived in their own little bubbles where they got to act like awful people without any consequences until one day, this wild new place called the Internet was created and–bam! No more hiding one’s idiocy. Which brings me to today’s story: The Case of January Jones & the Racist Instagram Photo.
January posted a photo yesterday for Throwback Thursday (#TBT) on her Instagram that offended quite a few of her followers. The picture was from January’s modeling days and was accompanied by the caption, “I finally found it! #tbt to my first paid ‘modeling’ gig for a knitting magazine in South Dakota #nailedit.” Here’s the photo:
Her followers quickly alerted her to the negative implications of the photo, primarily the objectification of black people being placed next to white women like decor, accessories, pets or servants–a theme that still inexplicably pervades the fashion world today. One commenter voice their frustration in this comment:
“The representation of naked black women, amidst a white fully-clothed female ‘model’ is problematic. It’s not racist in that it’s discriminatory, but it follows a long history of animalizing black people in relation to (chaste, pure) white womanhood. Also the wording of the catalogue is not doing it any favors (‘unexpected arrangement of colors’ is hopefully not an intentional racial remark.)”
Additionally, it appeared that January might be deleting comments, as followers began questioning why theirs had been deleted.
As a result of the controversy, January Jones threw a little temper tantrum in the caption of her replacement photo:
The caption reads:
“I had to swap my #tbt pics because I was receiving to many negative comments and assumptions.#thisforumshouldbeahappyandfunplaceihavenopatienceforhate”
No, it’s the effing Internet and you have no apparent idea what “hate” is, dear god. Just because somebody critiques something you do doesn’t mean they “hate” you or that you’re suddenly being subjected to torment or persecution. Don’t martyr yourself on the free speech stand just because people don’t like your #tbt post. FFS.
Get ready for a craaaaazy lesson kids: you can’t delete things off the Internet. You just cannot, especially if you’re famous. Somebody has seen it, another person has screenshot it, and 16 of his friends are giving it Facebook likes right now. Just as I said in the case of model Samie Robinson‘s blackface pic earlier this week and Pharrell‘s ELLE UK headdress fiasco, if you know you are posting something that is widely considered controversial, then either own it or don’t post it in the first place. Don’t give some half-assed pseudo-apology manufactured by your PR team; just say, “Yep, I did this, and I don’t give a F what you think about it.” Or really, just don’t do it at all.