Another beverage, another instance of Kendall Jenner committing cultural appropriation. This time, the model, 25, is being called out on social media for a culturally insensitive ad promoting her new tequila line, 818.
The video advertisement promoting the reality star’s tequila brand was released Wednesday, and it’s safe to say the internet is not pleased. In the ad, Jenner is seen traipsing around an agave farm in Jalisco, Mexico, where the tequila is crafted. The combination of farmers working alongside the model and her questionable outfit choices did not make for a good look.
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Many are accusing the model of promoting a whitewashed, stereotypical idea of what Mexican farmers wear and do. One Mexican Twitter user posted a long thread explaining how they felt Jenner had disrespected their culture, touching on the fact that Jenner, who is white, would be profiting from a drink that holds cultural significance in that country, while actual Mexican businesses would be left out in the cold.
Now, moving to her advertisement, it is a huge misconception of the Mexican culture. No miss Kendall, we do not ride in horses all the time, no we do not wear our hair in braids all the time, no workers do not get to drink the tequila (also that’s not the way you drink it) +
— rex is zayn’s bestie ! 🇲🇽🇵🇸 (@talkfastloueh) May 19, 2021
Many are also taking issue with the fact that Jenner is using Mexican labour and imagery to create and sell her product, while only making the drink available for purchase in the U.S. Some were also confused as to why Jenner herself was the face of the campaign, since she is neither Mexican nor does she have ties to Mexican culture.
YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME…..leave it to Kendall to be as tone deaf as possible, this is so offensive. Modeling that chic migrant worker look for her tequila brand, watch her cry and say she didn’t know later on for the 100th time 🙄😠 pic.twitter.com/7n4VypvSVv
— ARS (@ESNYstylessa) May 18, 2021
As people continued to voice their frustration and concerns, Jenner turned off the comments on her Instagram in an attempt to curb the backlash — a move that, many pointed out, was seen as silencing an important conversation around cultural appropriation.
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It’s far from the first time Jenner has been accused of cultural appropriation. The entire Kardashian-Jenner clan has routinely appropriated Black culture via their hairstyles, fashion designs and bodies (think: dark tans and surgically-enhanced features). And no one has forgotten about the Jenner’s shocking Pepsi commercial from 2017, where she was depicted ending police brutality at a protest with a can of the carbonated beverage. It’s one thing to trivialize the Black Lives Matter movement, but to not learn from that mistake and then turn around and do this has left many scratching their heads.
Jenner has so many other business ventures that don’t involve taking another group’s culture to make money. She works in the fashion industry, so doing fashion and beauty lines — using original designs — makes sense and aligns with her branding. Why she decided to do tequila, we aren’t entirely sure.
At this point, it would be wise for her to just stop promoting beverages altogether.
Related: Kylie Jenner’s style evolution.