Paris Jackson has recently apologized after being criticized for her Harper’s Bazaar Singapore cover. The bisexual 20-year-old model tweeted a Gay Star News opinion piece which condemned her decision to work with a publication in a country where homosexuality is criminalized, and apologized in response.
“Put simply, I don’t believe LGBTI allies or LGBTIs should be granting exclusives to publications in such countries. I’m sure Paris couldn’t give a damn what I think,” Jamie Tabberer, Entertainment Editor of GSN, wrote. “But for the record, I’m not trying to trash her. I just want to know if she considers consenting to this cover a mistake. If she doesn’t, I respect her right to that opinion. But in future, instead of advocating on my behalf, I’d rather she stuck with plants.”
Jackson responded with an apology: “i didn’t know, i am sorry. i was grateful for the opportunity, but i’ll delete the post now. i don’t want to be hypocritical or hurt anyone, and my support for my fellow LGBTQ+ community comes first before my love for fashion and gratitude for this opportunity. again, i’m sorry.”
i didn’t know, i am sorry. i was grateful for the opportunity, but i’ll delete the post now. i don’t want to be hypocritical or hurt anyone, and my support for my fellow LGBTQ+ community comes first before my love for fashion and gratitude for this opportunity. again, i’m sorry. https://t.co/ntokVfCZZS
— PK (@ParisJackson) August 19, 2018
This is not the first time in recent history we’ve seen a celebrity criticized for their decision to pose on the cover of a publication that is circulated in an anti-LGBTQ country. Queer Eye star Jonathan Van Ness came for Nicki Minaj for working with Harper’s Bazaar Russia, citing the censorship laws and Chechnya’s state-sponsored torture of gay men.
“Russia has anti-LGBTQIA propaganda laws,” JVN tweeted. “Chechnya supported by Russia tortures it’s LGBTQIA citizens, & w your LGBTQ+ fans you can’t even speak to that in this interview bc it’s illegal in Russia, what’s good @NICKIMINAJ , this should’ve been a hard pass.”
Russia has anti LGBTQIA propaganda laws, Chechnya supported by Russia tortures it’s LGBTQIA citizens, & w your LGBTQ+ fans you can’t even speak to that in this interview bc it’s illegal in Russia, what’s good @NICKIMINAJ , this should’ve been a hard pass. pic.twitter.com/6WqZdXSKKl
— Jonathan Van Ness (@jvn) July 13, 2018
This logic confused me when JVN tweeted it and it confuses me now with this GSN article because it’s a prime example of western exceptionalism and pinkwashing. In short, we use our standards for LGBT rights to indicate the general morality of a country and its government. Of course, the laws in question are anti-humanitarian and in some cases fascist — that’s not up for question.
But why do we only call for boycotts of countries that have policies that impact LGBTQ people and not other groups? The United States government has an enforced a Muslim ban and is detaining immigrants, so where are the calls to boycott American publications? Why is no one tweeting at Beyoncé for not just being on the cover of Vogue, but working in a guest editor capacity for the upcoming September issue?
I also want to echo and amplify a sentiment that people replied with to JVN’s Nicki tweet. In regards to Trump and his administration, liberal Americans are very quick to note and repeat that “he does not represent American values.” However, that nuance is a luxury that is not afforded to marginalized people from other countries. By advocating for boycotts of magazines, we’re punishing citizens for the actions of their government, and often times the very people we’re trying to support.