This past week, Tyra Banks was under fire as controversial clips of America’s Next Top Model (ANTM) resurfaced. Banks acknowledged the uproar and responded via twitter saying “Been seeing the posts about the insensitivity of some past ANTM moments and I agree with you. Looking back, those were some really off choices. Appreciate your honest feedback and am sending so much love and virtual hugs”. This however wasn’t enough for as the twitter mob proceeded to demand direct apologies and discuss how they’ve always hated the ANTM host.
To be fair, there were some moments throughout the series that looking back, are truly cringeworthy. Some of those moments were:
- Telling Dani Evans she’d never make it in modeling if she didn’t fix the gap in her teeth
- Conducting a photoshoot in which contestants had to darken their skin
- Asking a contestant to participate in a graveyard photoshoot the day after her friend passed away
- Accusing a contestant of attempting to prove her “Africanness”
While critiques of the show’s portrayal of beauty standards are warranted, I take an issue with the fallout. The response to both the clips and Bank’s response has been the usual “mob mentality” approach. They gang up and all of a sudden, Tyra Banks has always been a monster.
The same people who are now attacking Tyra Banks over this issue were the same one’s who tuned in week after week to watch ANTM. Those clips that are being shared, have been used as comedy content on several occasions. Now all of a sudden, they sit on our moral high horse. These clips from ANTM are over 10 years old. As many would agree it was a different time and a different climate. Certain things were allowed. I don’t say that to defend Tyra, more so to point out the hypocrisy in many of her 2020 critics. When we watched ANTM the critiques people are sharing now never came up. Nobody complained nor did they boycott the show. In all honesty, clips like that made the show more entertaining and garnered more viewership. Were certain aspects of the show egregious back then like they would be now? Absolutely. As time has passed, we now know just how unacceptable certain behavior was. However, that doesn’t mean we dig up old clips and automatically assume Tyra Banks had no growth and seen no error in her ways. I find it ironic that when this show first aired, Tyra Banks was viewed a figure who pushed for women empowerment. Now, she’s a figure who did nothing but put women down throughout her career.
More and more often, we’re seeing situations like this occur. People are attacking people online for something in their pass that they too participated in. They tend to believe they are the only ones who have grown from the past. The only ones who have made improvements in their lives. But the reality is nobody is perfect. The reality is the same people attacking Tyra need to look in the mirror. Two things can both be true. Its ok to say Tyra Banks made mistakes with ANTM production, while also saying it happened years ago and both her and the people who watched it now understand why it was wrong. Unfortunately, before we even get to that, we always have to choose a sacrificial lamb. This time around, Tyra Banks was chosen.
At the end of the day, nobody is perfect. Our community would be so much better off if we spent less time ganging up on each other, and more time on working on ourselves and understanding people are capable of positive change. But of course, why would we? Attacking people online is much more easier and fun.