Fans had been calling for an apology.
Tyra Banks is speaking out after problematic clips of “America’s Next Top Model” resurfaced online this week, sparking outrage from fans.
The show was accused of promoting blackface, fat-shaming and pressuring models to have cosmetic surgery, among other improprieties, according to social media followers.
“Been seeing the posts about the insensitivity of some past ANTM moments and I agree with you,” Tyra tweeted on Friday. “Looking back, those were some really off choices.”
Been seeing the posts about the insensitivity of some past ANTM moments and I agree with you. Looking back, those were some really off choices. Appreciate your honest feedback and am sending so much love and virtual hugs. ??
— Tyra Banks (@tyrabanks) May 9, 2020
“Appreciate your honest feedback and am sending so much love and virtual hugs.”
Although Tyra wasn’t specific to what “choices” she deemed “off,” nor did she issue an apology, some online followers had her unequivocal support.
“@tyrabanks you don’t even have to apologize. It was a different time AND for entertainment value!” posted a fan, while another wrote, “I THINK YOU WERE JUST REFLECTING WHAT YOUR EXPERIENCE IN THE INDUSTRY WAS. You were being real with people about what they would hear from others & thus preparing them for the job… May have come off harsh, but the modeling industry ain’t no bitch.”
Others, however, wanted to hear more from the TV host.
I THINK YOU WERE JUST REFLECTING WHAT YOUR EXPERIENCE IN THE INDUSTRY WAS. You were being real with people about what they would hear from others & thus preparing them for the job… May have come off harsh, but the modeling industry ain’t no bitch ?????
— Kwik Prince?? (@Daniel_Prince) May 9, 2020
Say more about this. Which choices were off? What was off about them? Mere acknowledgement and genuine apology are not the same thing
— Nabiha Ali (@nabstacks) May 9, 2020
“Say more about this. Which choices were off? What was off about them? Mere acknowledgement and genuine apology are not the same thing,” shared one follower.
The resurfaced clip that appeared to ignite the backlash showcased the panel of judges scolding contestant Danielle “Dani” Evans for refusing to get the gap in her front teeth filled back in 2006, as they announced it would leave her “unmarketable.”
“Do you really think you can have a Cover Girl contract with a gap in your mouth?” Tyra asked Dani.
The show, however, asked contestant Chelsey Hersley in 2010 to widen the gap in her front teeth, which spawned cries of racial inequality on social media, as Chelsey is white and Dani is Black.
That wasn’t the only clip that proved racially problematic for fans, as several took to their Twitter to bring up the episode where white models were painted to represent “Africans,” which prompted one of the models to say, “I’m a Black girl with a nose job,” to which the makeup artist replied, “You are! You’re a Jackson.”
Another old clip focused on the racially insensitive moment when a judge on the panel told contestant Yaya, “You have this intensity to prove your African-ness that I think sometimes is overbearing.”
In a different season, the judges said contestant Toccaro had to lose 150 pounds to be considered a model, to which Tyra stepped in to defend the young woman.
And a resurfaced clip of a photo shoot where the producers encouraged a contestant to pose in a grave after receiving news of her best friend’s death really drew the line for some followers.
On Thursday, Dani took to social media to address the situation, dubbed #GapGate by series’ regulars Miss J Alexander and Jay Manuel.
She said she eventually agreed to partially close the gap to avoid elimination, as she was using the show to launch her career and move her out of her hometown of Little Rock, Arkansas.
“I had a laser focused goal, nothing or no one was going to stand in my way,” she explained. “It wasn’t about copping out. It was about understanding what really carried weight and holds value in my life and teeth was not one of them.”
Dani added a message to “all the young queens” who might have seen the episode and were affected by it.
“If I could love on all of you right now, I would. I want to remind you of your worth,” she said. “You’re a masterpiece, you’re so loved, you’re adored and you’re beautiful.”
Jay wrote in Dani’s comments section, “Yes … speak your #truth!” while Miss J said her speech was “brilliant” during an Instagram Live on Friday. He also promised the two will address #GapGate on their live show in two weeks.
TooFab will keep you posted.