Fact Check: Dior Did Not Replace Bella Hadid With an Israeli Model — Here's What Actually Happened | Savoir Flair
Fact Check: Dior Did Not Replace Bella Hadid With an Israeli Model — Here's What Actually Happened
by Grace Gordon 3-minute read November 9, 2023

It's time to put on our fact-checking and critical thinking hats.


Emotions are high and with good reason. The news, images, and videos we are seeing from Israel’s genocidal rampage on Palestine are so haunting and traumatizing that it’s only human to react in a strongly emotive way. One resonant emotion is anger, anger at the global powers that not only refuse to intervene but are actively funding the assault, anger at the senseless loss of innocent lives, and anger that this has been allowed to go on for over 75 years. Anger can be an edifying emotion, one that spurs action. It can also be a dangerous tool when used to manipulate the public. 

Social media has become an extension of the war zone with clearly drawn sides. It has also been a powerful instrument of the revolution, proving that awareness is a vital step in ushering in change. Boycotts, in particular, have been an effective way to signal to the power brokers that we will not stand by and helplessly watch a mass genocide happen before our eyes. The way we spend our money is one of the few choices we have left in an overtly capitalist society, so spending our money on brands that support justice and humanitarian good is an obvious choice for many. 

When anti-apartheid sentiments in South Africa were reaching a critical point in the mid-1980s, it was boycotts that tipped the balance. Ordinary people started demanding that their local supermarkets stop selling South African products, and student protests and strikes led to banks pulling out of South Africa. Bans on South African imports hit the apartheid state right where it hurts the most: its wallet. In an effort to stop the slaughter of Palestinian civilians, ordinary people from all over the world have joined boycotts against brands that monetarily support Israel. And the boycotts, thus far, are working.

Unfortunately, some brands have been swept up in the raging calls to action on social media due to widespread misinformation. Recently, Turkish newspaper Yeni Safak posted, “Dior replaces Palestinian-origin Bella Hadid with Israeli model as brand ambassador,” on Instagram, and the post went viral, sparking mass outrage. The problem is, this story is categorically false and easily disproven with the simplest Google search. 

Hadid was a contracted ambassador for Dior Beauty from 2016 to 2022. While some of the outrage has spilled over into calls to boycott Dior bags, shoes, and other brand items, Hadid was never an ambassador for Dior Couture or ready-to-wear, although she did wear Dior designs on occasional red carpets. Her exit from Dior Beauty pre-dates the current crisis. While she has been candid about her struggle to book jobs due to her outspoken support for her homeland of Palestine, she maintained her Dior Beauty contract for six years. Since that time, Hadid has become the face of Charlotte Tilbury. Hadid also publicly took a step back from runway modeling to attend to health concerns caused by Lyme disease, announcing a positive health update on August 6, 2023.

First, being an ambassador for a brand is a prestigious and long-term contracted position. While it is true that Israeli model May Tager appears in Dior’s new holiday campaign, a campaign booking is not the same as an ambassadorship. Hence, the term “replaced” is false. Trager also appeared in a holiday campaign for Dior in 2022, but as the Associated Press Fact Check report points out, “Tager is one of several models appearing in Dior’s 2023 holiday campaign, she was also in the 2022 version — and both ads more prominently featured actor Anya Taylor-Joy.”

This is a common logical fallacy called “denying the antecedent.” People saw Tager model in a campaign, and not Hadid, and assumed that if the Israeli model was in the ad, then she had replaced Hadid. On the surface, it looks like a valid argument, and many “denying the antecedent” fallacies do. But it’s only logically sound if there is a proven relationship between the two conditions. Tager’s placement in the campaign occurred after Hadid had already departed her ambassadorship and prior to the second Nakba in Palestine.

While the false news report spread like wildfire and stoked a lot of outrage and calls to ban Dior products, there were also many users in the comment sections who pointed out that it was baseless and false. Misinformation is a manipulation and a powerful one at that. It feeds on our rage, our helplessness, and our fear. It weaponizes our pain. While social media draws stark dividing lines, and it’s important to be on the right side of this massive humanitarian issue, it is also important to deal in facts and not rumors. Engaging with false narratives only serves to weaken your position and diminish your credibility.

Critical thinking and fact-checking are vital components of spreading awareness. It’s up to each and every one of us to share information that is true and factual and to decry false information where we find it. We are stronger as a unified voice calling for justice for Palestine when we align ourselves with truth because it ensures our position is above reproach. Remember, the truth always wins.

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