Whoever runs W Magazine’s Twitter account – which has 1.5 million followers – likely had some explaining to do today.
On September 26, the magazine shared a link to a story on Twitter along with a picture of sisters Gigi and Bella Hadid posing with fellow model Alek Wek – but while Gigi and Bella were described as ‘pretty in pink,’ the tweet failed to name-check industry veteran Alek, 42, who stood in the middle.
Fans certainly noticed, and many responded to slam the magazine for ignoring the model
Oversight: The W Magazine Twitter account, which has 1.5 million followers, was slammed for ignoring model Alek Wek, center, in a post
Industry legend: Alek Wek, pictured, was ‘discovered’ as a teenager in South London, and has been a runway and editorial model for 25 years
South Sudanese-British model Alek has been modeling for high profile brands and publications since she was discovered in South London at age 18.
Alek – who has worked with renowned brands such as Chanel, Gucci, Ralph Lauren, Marc Jacobs, Dior and Yves Saint Laurent – has often been lauded for her influence in the fashion and beauty industry.
Oprah Winfrey notably once said, ‘If [Alek] had been on the cover of a magazine when I was growing up, I would have had a different concept of who I was.’
So she’s certainly known in the fashion industry, which made it all the more strange when W Magazine’s Twitter account failed to acknowledge her presence in a photo.
Responses included one from a bewildered person who simply slammed, ‘Damn, W! Damn damn damn.’
‘There’s someone else,’ said one more, while another wrote, ‘So y’all aren’t going to name the beautiful woman in the middle?!’
Ignorant: Social media users questioned why W Magazine did not refer to Alek in their post while they tagged Gigi and Bella
Another said: ‘I guess the melanated beauty in the middle can just drop dead…?’
The offending post directed followers to a link on W Magazine’s website, to a feature with the same title, declaring that Gigi and Bella were pretty in pink.
While the tweet was published via SocialFlow, a social media optimization platform that allows media publications and businesses to schedule posts, it was most likely manually edited ahead of time to include the social media handles of the Gigi, 24, and Bella, 22.
High-end fashion glossy W Magazine was formerly owned by Conde Nast, until its June sale to Surface Magazine.
When it was bought, its long-standing Editor-in-Chief Stefano Tonchi exited.
Sara Moonves, daughter of former CBS Chairman/CEO Les Moonves replaced him at the top of the masthead, becoming the first female EIC in the magazine’s 47-year history.
Backstage: Alek, 42, poses backstage at the Off-White show during Paris Fashion Week
Trio: Supermodels Alek, Bella and Gigi show off designer Virgil Abloh’s wares before the Off-White show
Runway walk: Alek took to the catwalk in a monochromatic fuchsia pink look
The fact that Alek was not included in the post comes just weeks after another model with South Sudanese heritage was left devastated and embarrassed when an Australian magazine ran an interview with her but used a different model’s image.
When Adelaide, Australia-raised Adut Akech, 19, was featured in Who magazine in August, the publication accompanied her profile piece with a picture of model Flavia Lazarus.
Adut called the error ‘unacceptable and inexcusable’ and said that she felt that her ‘entire race has been disrespected’.
‘With the article, they published a large photo saying it was me, but it was of another black girl,’ she said in a statement. ‘Not only do I feel personally insulted and disrespected, but I feel like my entire race has been disrespected too.’
‘I feel as though this wouldn’t have happened to a white model,’ she said.
Top model: Adut Akech, pictured, said the ‘industry needs to do better’ when a magazine ran her interview with someone else’s picture
‘Racism’: The mishap by Who magazine was widely condemned and Adut said it ‘would not have happened to a white model’
Statement: 19-year-old Adut released a statement following the incident, saying she was ‘upset, ‘angry’ and ‘insulted’
The problematic mishap came right about the same time that former refugee Adut had been given the honor of appearing on Meghan Markle’s guest edited September cover of British Vogue.
Cover girl: Adut was recently included on Meghan Markle’s September edit of British Vogue (top left)
‘This has upset me, this has made me angry… to me this is unacceptable and inexcusable under any circumstance,’ she said of the mix up.
‘To people within the industry, this is not okay and you need to do better,’ she said.
In a statement, Who Magazine apologized for the blunder.
‘Unfortunately the agency that set up our interview with Adut Akech supplied us with the wrong photograph to accompany the piece,’ a spokesperson said.
‘Who spoke directly with Adut to explain how the error occurred and have sincerely apologized.
‘We also apologize to Flavia Lazarus for the misprint.’
The magazine also said they hoped the mistake would help create a discussion about diversity.
‘Hopefully the result of our misprint will be more people talking about this issue in the industry and tackling it head-on.’
Catwalk queen: Adut pictured walking in the Isabel Marant Spring/Summer 2020 show during Paris Fashion Week