Because the space on my DVR is reserved exclusively for high-quality Peabody Award-winning programs like Shahs of Sunset and Canada’s Worst Driver, I haven’t seen Germany’s Next Top Model, but I did learn this week that Heidi Klum thought it was a good idea to take the 12 girls vying for the opportunity to appear in whatever the German equivalent of JCPenney is and dress them up like Native Americans for a photo shoot. I guess Heidi never saw those We’re a Culture, Not a Costume ads from a couple years back, because if she had, she’d know that real Native Americans don’t exactly get the warm fuzzies from seeing a bunch of skinny chicks playing dress-up in feathers and war paint.
After Heidi proudly revealed the GNTM photo shoot on Facebook, plenty of people let her know in the comments that they felt it was pretty offensive (one look at the picture of the model with a single tear rolling down her face like she’s Iron Eyes Cody is probably enough to convince you they’re not wrong). So on Thursday, a spokesperson speaking on behalf of Heidi Klum burped out this ‘sowwy you got offended’ statement to The Independent UK:
“We have nothing but the utmost esteem for the Native American culture and are so sorry if our shoot was offensive to anyone. By no means was our intention to insult Native Americans or in any way demean their heritage. We sincerely apologize.”
Whenever a group of people say that they’re not really cool with a certain stereotype or the use of their culture for the purpose of, let’s say, a photo shoot, it means it might be time to fold it up and pack it away in the linen closet to be used never again. So maybe feather headdresses and warpaint and peace pipes should be kind of hands-off for non-Native Americans? “But I already packed my bags!” – Every girl getting ready for Coachella.