A woman claims to have received death threats for both herself and her young son after sharing pictures online in which she had a braided hairstyle.
Influencer Sarah Stevenson, known on social media as Sarah’s Day, wore long, colourful braids in her hair as part of an advert for her new collaboration with Sydney fashion brand White Fox Boutique.
The Australian health and fitness influencer sparked outrage with the snaps, as people called her out for “cultural appropriation”.
Hundreds of people flooded the comments, with one writing: “Your lack of awareness and belief that you can just delete comments of people trying to educate you is disrespectful and concerning.”
Stevenson was shocked by the response to her pictures and decided to pull the campaign.
The mum-of-one later took to social media to share an apology.
In a post on her Instagram, she said that it had broken her heart that something she’d done had offended people.
She wrote: “This uncertainty and sadness in my heart has led me to pull the campaign. I’m sorry if I offended anyone. That was never my intention. I want EVERYONE to feel empowered, valued and confident. Please know that I love you all and I’m doing my best at being respectful of everyone’s opinion.”
The 27-year-old continued to say that Coachella hairstyles had been the inspiration behind her look for the photoshoot.
“Not once did I even think about cultural appropriation,” she confessed.
“If that even crossed my mind I wouldn’t have done it because you guys know I hate conflict, I hate controversy.”
She continued: “I’m so sorry, I screwed up, I was misinformed, uneducated. I’m doing my best now to educate myself and use my platform.”
However her apology did little to appease people and she was forced to address the situation once again after she received death threats.
“I’m getting full-on hate death threats to me and Fox. It’s brutal… I know 99 percent of you follow me because you love me, but that one per cent – they’re crazy,” she said.
The influencer has since re-shot the photos for her active wear range, opting for one long, single plait this time.
She admitted that picking a new hairstyle for the images had her on the verge of tears as she was “scared to do anything wrong and upset people”.
She went on to say that she felt like she was “walking on egg shells” and wasn’t sure if she’d ever feel normal again after this incident.
“I’m not playing the victim, but I’m feeling very fragile,” she added.
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