Words by Erin Donnelly.
An English model has been accused of insensitivity for taking a selfie at a Holocaust memorial in Berlin — which she captioned with a joking reference to the film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.
Rhian Sugden posted the controversial photo, taken at Berlin’s Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, on Monday, adding the caption “E.T. phone home.”
But many people objected to her sharing a seemingly lighthearted message in such a somber setting, calling it inappropriate and disrespectful.
The model has since made her Instagram account private.
Rhian Sugden, pictured in 2012, is defending her controversial selfie. (Photo: Nat Jag/Getty Images)”Silly pouting/duck faces at a Holocaust memorial? Narcissist,” wrote one critic.
“Your caption is inappropriate considering your setting,” added another. “It’s weird you don’t realize that.”
“Imagine having such little respect for the millions of people murdered during the Holocaust that you think this is appropriate,” read a comment. “What an embarrassment of a human.”
Others slammed her as “vacuous” and “an idiot.” But Sugden refused to back down, defending her photo as a typical tourist pic.
“Every other single person who has been there has [taken] a pic/selfie,” she shot back at a critic. “Am I smiling? Am I laughing? No.”
She told another unimpressed commenter that her caption referenced her appearance.
“Maybe don’t look into things so much,” she wrote. “It’s a selfie and I look like E.T.”
In 2013, fashion blogger Pelayo Diaz used the memorial as the backdrop for a fashion shoot, which was similarly attacked for being insensitive.
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