Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra has apologised for cover shoot for Condé Nast Traveller. The actress posed for the travel magazine's October edition while wearing a white T-shirt that strikes out the words "refugee," "immigrant," and "outsider," followed by the word "traveller" which stands out.
The picture has sparked huge criticism for being insensitive towards immigrants and refugees who are enduring unspeakable pain to lead a life without fear, war and violence. Many critics expressed their outrage on Twitter and reminded the Quantico actress that being a refugee was "not a choice".
"I'm really, really apologetic about the fact that so many sentiments were hurt. I was very affected and I felt really, really horrible and that was never the intention," the 34-year-old said in an interview with NDTV addressing the controversy.
The popular Indian actress, who is drawing major fan following in Hollywood, is one of Time magazine's 100 most influential people and has also made it to Forbes' highest paid TV actresses list. Being an ambassador for the UN children's agency Unicef, her vest was tagged as 'offensive' for belittling the plight of the displaced people.
"They [Condé Nast] specially got this [T-shirt] made and implored me to wear it. They said they were addressing xenophobia which is a big issue that is happening. So their idea was that. And I bought into it, I guess. And I am really, really apologetic about the fact that sentiments were hurt ... The point the magazine wanted to make was actually something good," she explained to the Indian news outlet.
Soon after the outrage, Condé Nast issued a public statement to articulate its real intention behind the image: "At Condé Nast Traveller, we believe that the opening up of borders and the breaking down of walls can help us discover the world, and open up our minds and hearts.
"It's about how our labelling of people as immigrants, refugees and outsiders is creating a culture of xenophobia. We are allowing thousands of innocent people who are forced to cross borders due to unimaginable terror and atrocities to be treated without humanity and empathy. It's about how we are allowing some powerful leaders to build barriers that make it more difficult for bright, motivated and hardworking people to see more of the world, learn from it and make it better for us all."