- Kendall Jenner released an ad campaign for her 818 Tequila brand this week.
- In images for the campaign, she’s wearing braids, an oversize shirt, and a cowboy hat.
- Critics have accused her of appropriating Mexican culture.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Kendall Jenner is facing cultural-appropriation accusations over her tequila brand’s new ad campaign.
Jenner shared photos of the ad campaign for 818 Tequila on Instagram earlier this week, showing her riding a horse in an agave field while wearing jeans, an oversize shirt, a flat-brimmed cowboy hat strung across her back, and two braids.
Since posting the images, she has received criticism online from people accusing her of appropriating Mexican culture.
-Sandy ???????? (@_sandynwa) May 19, 2021
Critics are calling out the scenes of Jenner on a horse riding through the field while employees harvest the agave, and then raising a glass with employees.
Jenner disabled comments on the Instagram post after receiving complaints. Representatives for Jenner declined to comment on the criticism when contacted by Insider.
The California native was also accused of cultural appropriation when she first announced her brand
When Jenner announced 818 on Instagram in February, social-media users were divided in their opinions.
“The Mexican workers better not be getting under payed kenny,” one Instagram comment said.
“Damn at least thank the Mexican farmers, distillers whose craft and heritage you’re appropriating,” another commenter wrote.
The agave plant has a long history and is known to have been considered sacred by Aztecs, according to The Atlantic.
Not everyone completely understood where critics were coming from, and some took the time to break down their thoughts, explaining the history of Tequila, Mexico, and that workers are often exploited.
-Cindy Alvarez (@_cindyy_a) February 17, 2021
In looking for some insight into the question of cultural appropriation, Insider spoke with Marie Sarita Gaytán, the associate professor of sociology and gender studies and author of “¡Tequila!: Distilling the Spirit of Mexico,” in February.
Gaytán told Insider via email that one root of the issue was that it seemed as though Mexican goods and culture held more value in the US than Mexican people did.
“For Mexicans and Mexican-Americans living in the United States, it certainly stings to see yet another non-Mexican capitalizing on their culture,” Gaytán said in February. “Why might it sting? Well, for one, even as I write, real Mexicans – mothers, fathers, children – are in cages, put there by the US government. That could not happen in a country that respected Mexicans as humans.”
Celebrities like George Clooney and The Rock have similar promotional videos for their brands
Though some are calling Jenner’s video problematic, others are asking why the same criticism didn’t come after other male celebrities released their brand videos.
In the February interview with Insider regarding Jenner’s initial brand launch, Gaytán said that, as far as she could remember, tequila brands launched by other non-Mexican celebrities did not elicit the same response. “When people express outrage over Kendall Jenner’s tequila, I wonder why there hasn’t been the same reaction to the launch of brands by Justin Timberlake, Nick Jonas, or Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson?” she said.
Gaytán was unavailable for immediate comment on this story. But it is worth noting that some of those celebrities have also starred in promotional videos for their brands.
In April, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson shared a video of himself wearing a denim shirt, driving a truck through agave fields promoting his brand, Teremana.
In December, the Teremana account shared a video of Johnson shaking hands and sharing a drink with jimadores, much like in Jenner’s video.
Similar videos have also been shared by Casamigos featuring its founders George Clooney and Rande Gerber.