Selma Blair is getting support from one of Canada’s most prominent politicians after she was accused of cultural appropriation.
The “Hellboy” actress recently came under fire after sharing a photo of herself and friend Rachel Fleit wearing head wraps.
“We have one answer to your bad hair days or NO hair days #alopecia @rachelfleit...wraps! (oh, it’s been around for thousands of years),” Blair wrote as a caption.
The head wrap, which Blair joked was channelling her inner Norma Desmond a la “Sunset Boulevard” and eccentric socialite Edie Beale, was a fashionable attempt for the actress to manage the side effects of her multiple sclerosis treatments, which have included hair loss. The 46-year-old proudly posed for the photo with Fleit, a writer and director with alopecia who frequently sports head wraps.
“See. It’s a thing,” Blair wrote under a separate Instagram post of herself and son Arthur both sporting head wraps.
The accessory immediately sparked backlash from fans, who claimed Blair was being disrespectful to Sikh culture and religion.
“This is not brilliant and it is not cool,” one user wrote. “White people have scorned Sikhs for hundreds of years and now we wanna appropriate and make it trendy? No. Just no. We don’t get to do this.”
“You are so wonderful and I know you mean no harm, but this is serious cultural appropriation,” another wrote. “I’d be happy to have a private conversation about how this is hurtful to Sikhs if you’re open to it.”
Despite the controversy, Blair was swarmed with thousands of messages of support from fans, including NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, a proud member of the Sikh community.
“In the Sikh tradition we celebrate our shared humanity, the connection between us all and the idea that we are all one. It’s totally cool for anyone to rock a turban. In fact you’re making it easier for people who get bullied for wearing one by tearing down the stigma. So thank you,” Singh wrote to Blair and her followers. “Also, not gonna lie, y’all look hella elegant.”
Blair has responded to her critics assuring them that her head covering was no way meant to offend.
“This is not at all a Sikh turban or imitating one,” Blair replied to one of their follower’s comments. “And funnily enough, Sikhs absorb negativity, diffuse it. Tolerance. So none of these comments hurt. They may be not knowing what they write. A head wrap can be useful and beautiful in all cultures.
“Covering one’s head is not appropriating anything but warmth and a wig alternative,” she later added.