Canadian model and sex icon Pamela Anderson has come under fire after posting photos of herself with a Native American headdress.
The photo, released on Halloween, has been heavily ratioed, receiving nearly nine times as many replies than retweets, as many claim that Anderson is appropriating Native American culture, and that her actions as a whole are racist.
One of her critics was famed Canadian Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq, who criticized Anderson not only for her headdress, but for her criticism of the seal hunt, a practice which Inuit leaders, activists, and residents of their native land say is a traditional practice of non-endangered seals, as well as a primary resource of meat for their communities. They also use the seals as a resource for insulation and clothing.
The debate around seal clubbing goes back decades. A 2002 Canadian Veterinary Medical Association report reviewed seal killing techniques (specifically, in the Atlantic Coast, not in Inuit communities) determined an improper seal kill kept the animals alive at an average of 45.2 seconds, before finally being given the final death blow. The paper considered this number humane, but noted “no interval between an animal being shot and losing consciousness will ever be acceptable to some people.”
Inuits themselves also claim that the practice is more humane than the means that other Americans obtain meat. “In places where (anti-seal activists) live, in Southern Canada and America, they torture animals, they eat tortured animals every day,” said one young Inuk in the film Angry Inuk, a 2016 documentary discussing the controversial topic.
Other celebrities have protested the seal hunt, including ex-Smiths frontman Morrissey, who boycotted performing in Canada for years until deciding to drop it last year on his latest tour.
Native headgear and controversy
Earlier this year, Dior’s new Eau du toilette “Sauvage” had its commercial pulled following a similar controversy.
The commercial, which was actually a preview to an extended cut, released a preview of its Native American-inspired fragrance campaign for “Sauvage,” to very little positive public reaction.
Despite the company’s collaboration with Native American consultants and careful attention to tradition, the brand faced heavy backlash from followers stating that the campaign was “racist” and “offensive.”
In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Depp said that he wished the full video could have been released, as people would see more of the context surrounding the short.
“A teaser obviously is a very concentrated version of images and there were objections to the teaser of the small film,” Depp explained. “The film has never been seen.”
The commercial, which features Depp on an electric guitar playing Link Wray’s “Rumble” while an Indigenous man fancy dances, was eventually pulled due to its perceived insensitivity.
Anderson made headlines last week for asking Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to serve prisoners vegan meals to save money.