“Real Housewives of Atlanta” star Kenya Moore and the Bravo network have issued apologies after the reality TV star was filmed wearing a Native American headdress that was deemed “offensive” and “racist.”
The 50-year-old Bravo personality took responsibility for her costume, which was shown during Sunday’s Halloween-themed episode.
“I want to sincerely apologize for inappropriately wearing the Native American headdress as a costume. I now realize that this was both disrespectful and insensitive and would never have done it if I had that knowledge and understanding beforehand,” Moore said in a statement shared with Fox News.
She went on to say the costume is one she regrets.
“When you know better, you do better. I am genuinely sorry,” Moore concluded.
Bravo also responded to the backlash with a statement of their own shared with Fox News.
“Bravo aims to have the highest standards of respect and inclusivity and we recognize that the recent episode of The Real Housewives of Atlanta, in which a cast member wears a Native American costume, did not uphold those values. We had hoped it would provide a teachable moment, however in retrospect it is clear that the network did not address this properly given the gravity of the situation. We apologize to both the Native American community and our audience as a whole,” the statement reads.
Criticism of Moore’s outfit first surfaced by the activist group IllumiNative, which is led by Native peoples. The group issued a lengthy statement on Instagram one day after the episode aired.
“We are deeply disturbed by last night’s episode of #RHOA in which @KenyaMoore wore a Native American ‘warrior princess’ costume,” IllumiNatives wrote.
“Costumes that mock Native peoples, defame our traditions and cultures, and perpetuate negative stereotypes are racist,” the nonprofit organization continued. “‘Playing Indian’ is a form of mascotry that is not just offensive, it is a part of a long history of how Native peoples have been dehumanized.”
The group said at the time that it was “concerned that none of the producers or executives” at Bravo, Comcast and NBC Universal had not intervened before it made its way on air.
The nonprofit’s Instagram account notes that its initiative is “to increase the visibility of Natives in American society.”