Hilary Duff and her new boyfriend, Jason Walsh, took their relationship public at the Casamigos Halloween Party in Beverly Hills on Friday, Oct. 28, and their surprise outing caused quite the stir — but not for the reason they anticipated.
The “Sparks” singer, 29, and the personal trainer dressed up as a sexy pilgrim and a Native American chief, respectively, prompting social media users to slam them for cultural appropriation and reinforcing negative stereotypes.
“HILARY DUFF YOUR COSTUME IS SO YESTERDAY,” one Twitter user wrote. Another added, “No @HilaryDuff Traditional dress is not a costume and you being dressed as a pilgrim proves to me how insensitive and ignorant you are.”
“Look at how much work dude put into being racist,” one fan wrote in reference to Walsh’s elaborate costume, feathered headdress and red face paint.
Some social media users also pointed out that the new couple’s costume choices were particularly insensitive in the wake of the Dakota Access Pipeline controversy in North Dakota, where thousands of Native Americans and supporters are protesting the construction of a 1,134-mile-long pipeline that would destroy sacred grounds.
“So is @HilaryDuff and her bf gonna protest that pipeline [affecting] native Americans or ?” one fan tweeted.
So is @HilaryDuff and her bf gonna protest that pipeline affected native Americans or ?
— Maryam♡♡ (@gmonkeysg) October 29, 2016
Another wrote, “Dang it, hilary duff. I thought you were one of the good ones.”
dang it, hilary duff. i thought you were one of the good ones.
— cardad wentz (@hakstols) October 29, 2016
Others chimed in with:
I can't believe Hilary Duff looked at her boyfriend and thought "yes this costume is perfect and not offensive."
— noahilistic (@NOAHKEEN) October 29, 2016
— Bre (@AmazingLackey) October 29, 2016
We'll be able to set our watches to Hilary Duff's "apology."
— Brittany Packnett (@MsPackyetti) October 29, 2016
“Last New Year’s Eve I was at a Lone Ranger-themed party where some of us, myself included wore the traditional dress of First Nations people,” the 33-year-old Aussie actor wrote on Instagram on Thursday, October 27. “I was stupidly unaware of the offense this may have caused and the sensitivity around this issue. I sincerely and unreservedly apologize to all First Nations people for this thoughtless action. I now appreciate that there is a great need for a deeper understanding of the complex and extensive issues facing indigenous communities. I hope that in highlighting my own ignorance I can help in some small way.”
Duff has yet to address the controversy surrounding her and Walsh’s costumes.