LONDON — The backlash against Miroslava Duma is gaining momentum by the hour with figures including Naomi Campbell, Bryanboy and Marc Goehring of the magazine 032c voicing their anger at offensive, racist and transphobic comments from the Russian digital entrepreneur and cofounder of Buro 24/7 on social media.
On Wednesday, Goehring, a stylist and fashion editor, posted a picture of himself on Instagram wearing a T-shirt with an image of Duma and the words “Hi my name is Miroslava Duma. I am a racist. I am a homophobe. I am a transphobe.”
On Tuesday, fashion blogger Bryanboy said on Twitter: “Racism and bigotry is never cool. 😢 I guess I’m too weird…” He was referring to a video from six years ago that shows Duma making transphobic comments.
At the time, Duma was speaking at a lecture titled “Fashion in the Internet Era” in Moscow hosted by the BrainON Intellectual Club. WWD obtained the transcript of the video. She talked about her dislike of female fashion being worn by men and said that, somewhere, a little boy could see it and therefore a “certain kind of censorship is needed.”
“Honestly, I dislike that. Because somewhere, on TV or in a magazine, a little boy could see it. And that boy wouldn’t understand it correctly, wouldn’t react correctly.”
She pointed to Bryanboy and Andrej Pejic and stated her publication Buro 24/7 would never publish someone like Pejic. “There’s this weird person called Bryanboy.…There’s another weird person called Pejic. Who else can you remember here? Thank God there aren’t that many of them! We’re very concerned about the beauty and purity of the images we publish on Buro 24/7.”
Earlier this week Duma posted a picture of flowers and a card that she said was sent by her designer friend Ulyana Sergeenko. The card said “To my Ni**as in Paris,” a quote from a Jay Z and Kanye West song. Duma later apologized on Instagram: “I sincerely apologize for my regrettable Instagram story that went out. The phrase referenced is from a Kanye West and Jay Z song by the same title. The word is utterly offensive, and I regret promoting it and am very sorry. I deeply respect people of all backgrounds and detest racism of discrimination of any kind. My organizations and I are committed to our core values of inclusion and diversity.”
Campbell voiced her anger, posting an image of Duma’s image of flowers and a card on Instagram stories: “Seriously?! Why would you a) write this b) post this…this better not be real!” Campbell reposted an image from street style photographer Adam Katz Sinding. He called the actions of Duma and Sergeenko “upsetting.”
“When I screenshot Mira’s story that evening, I had no idea it would become so big,” Sinding said. “That being said: The initial action was very much not cool. However, the ‘apologies’ and excuses were what really dug their graves. And even more so…the comments sent to my DMs, which I have published in my Story Highlight on the subject on Instagram. The sheer ignorance is astonishing. Listen: We ALL have said hurtful things about others in our lives. Every one of us, bar none. Severe or small. This is not the point. The act is in poor taste. The apology confirmed that this was not just a ‘joke’ but an actual case of blatant ignorance. These are two well-traveled people…the ignorance-card doesn’t work here. As we grow, we learn, and as we learn, we adapt. Even if Kanye were my BEST FRIEND, I wouldn’t be saying this kind of thing.”
On Wednesday, Buro 24/7 Singapore posted an apology: “As a publication in a culturally diverse country such as Singapore, we have always positioned ourselves as storytellers in an inclusive community. Racism and bigotry have no place in our editorial policies and guidelines. Buro 24/7 Singapore stands firmly united against the usage of any disrespectful words and behavior toward any community. We will continue to craft stories from a place of love and respect.”
Duma issued an apology on Instagram regarding the exchange between Sergeenko and Duma of the picture of flowers and a card.
She also released a statement pertaining to the video: “First things first: I am deeply ashamed by the comments I made in 2012. Frankly, I’m as shocked as anyone to be viewing that footage today, and to see for my own eyes how utterly offensive and hurtful my actions were back then. And when I consider that my comments were made in front of an audience of students — young people with open minds and positive attitudes — it makes them seem all the more insensitive and out of touch.
“As we all know, the world is evolving at an extraordinary pace, and we as humans evolve, too. The person I was six years ago is not who I am today. In the intervening years, I have committed myself to a journey of personal growth, where ignorance has been replaced by acceptance, and discrimination by inclusion. I deeply respect people of all backgrounds: I believe in equality for everyone, regardless of ethnicity, gender identity, religion or sexual orientation.
“If any positive change is to come from recent events, then I sincerely hope that the public discussions surrounding me might shine a light on the broader need to stamp out discrimination from society once and for all. It is true that I come from a culture where words and attitudes may be different from the Western ideals that I, in fact, have come to understand and accept. I know now, better than ever, that I should be an example of positivity and progress for the people who follow me, and that my platform and privilege can be used as agents of change — particularly in our current political environment.
“I’d like to formally apologize to any individuals or communities that I have offended. Similarly, I’d like to extend this apology to the professional organizations I am affiliated with. The comments I made are in no way representative of those organizations or their teams.
“I do not expect instant forgiveness, nor forgiveness at all, for those I’ve offended. I know that my actions must speak louder than my words or gestures on social media — and I pledge to do the necessary work to gain back people’s trust and respect.”
As a result of the furor, Duma has been removed from the board of The Tot, a children’s company she started with Nasiba Adilova in 2015.
This isn’t the first time that Duma has been lambasted for offensive comments on social media. Four years ago, Buro 24/7 posted an image of Garage magazine’s editor in chief Dasha Zhukova, who was sitting on top of a chair made by Bjarne Melgaard and created to look like black woman dressed in bondage.