Kendall Jenner has suffered a backlash over her new Tequila ad – here’s why

Harriet Brewis
Friday 21 May 2021 10:37
Celebrities

Kendall Jenner has whipped up a social media storm over the new advert for her latest venture.

The supermodel, 25, officially launched her 818 Tequila brand in California this week after months of hype on social media.

She marked the occasion by sharing promotional photos shot in Jalisco, Mexico, gushing: “What an incredible experience I have had thus far, learning about this beautiful place, it’s beautiful culture, and the beautiful people!”

But things soon turned sour, and she eventually disabled comments on the post, as she was met with a flurry of criticism.

The advert features Jenner sipping the spirit from the back of a pickup truck, riding on horseback among agave plans, and watching local farmers at work.

All the while, the beaming entrepreneur is pictured sporting a cowboy hat slung around her neck, along with an oversized shirt and her hair in braids.

For many, the “tone deaf” look has perpetuated stereotypes associated with Mexican farmers, with some social media users accusing her of trying to peddle “migrant chic”.

One Twitter user wrote: “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.”

Another said: “Kendall Jenner can go to hell with this blatant exploitation of the stereotypes of indigenous women from Mexico.”

While a third tweeted: “Me as a Mexican, I’m begging y’all that live in the US to DO not consume Kendall Jenner’s tequila because what she’s doing is called cultural appropriation, making it hers.

“Listen to us Mexicans when we tell you that this is wrong. [It] is our culture and we don’t want a white woman profiting from our culture.”

The same user posted an impassioned thread titled ‘Why you shouldn’t buy Kendal Jenner’s 818 Tequila’.

In it, they explained why the spirit is so important to Mexican culture, and suggested that Jenner’s venture could affect the growth of smaller businesses in the country and hit local workers’ jobs.

They added: “In her post, she says that she’s selling her tequila only in the US [...] and not Mexico, the country that is giving you the resources to make the drink in the first place.”

Meanwhile, one viewer focussed on a different issue – suggesting the problem was much broader than a single advert:

Elsewhere, others were more mocking in their approach to the ad:

And others took the opportunity to promote local producers:

However, scores of fans were quick to defend the 25-year-old’s enterprise, insisting that plenty of other big names – including George Clooney, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, and Kevin Hart – have launched tequila brands without being accused of insensitivity or appropriation:

Jenner has yet to respond to the furore, but it’s not the first time she has suffered a backlash over her alcohol brand.

In February, she was accused of erasing Mexican culture by naming the spirit 818 after her residential area code in Calabasas – the Californian city where she grew up – not after the Mexican state in which it was “hand-crafted”.

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