NAOMI Campbell has hit back at criticism from gay rights campaigners for hosting a fashion show in Qatar.
The controversial 52-year-old supermodel was slammed over her ‘Emerge’ event, set for Friday, as it is being held at the Ceremonial Court in Doha.
Campaigners say the move is “inconsistent” with her support for the LGBTQ+ community and have asked if she will “say something” about homosexuality being outlawed in Qatar, which is also controversially hosting the World Cup 2022.
But Naomi’s spokesman told Mail Online on Thursday: “She is famously supportive of the LBGTQ+ community and she understands that being engaged in places like Qatar is an essential step towards positive change. “To suggest that her Emerge initiative is in any way an affront to the LGBTQ+ community shows a lack of understanding of who (she) is as a person and as a global citizen.”
Naomi was photographed on Tuesday at a VIP dinner in Qatar’s Doha to mark the launch of the ‘Baghdad: Eye’s Delight’ exhibition at the Museum of Islamic Art, along with guests including model Bella Hadid, 26.
Dr Nas Mohamed, the first Qatari to publicly come out as gay, was quoted by Mail Online saying about Naomi’s involvement with Qatar: “Naomi is a global icon but Qatar is trying to have it both ways, be it in fashion or sport, by presenting itself as modern, (while it is also) a closed non-inclusive country.
“Qatar uses these platforms to launder its reputation. Is Naomi willing to say something when she’s (there) because the LGBT community is not OK?”
Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, who said he was this week detained by officials while protesting about gay rights in Qatar, said: “Miss Campbell’s involvement is inconsistent, given the country’s appalling restrictions on women and the criminalisation of LGBT.”
Naomi’s event is being held to launch her new global initiative ‘Emerge’, which says it aims to “empower the next generation of creative and business talent”.
Naomi has said: “If it wasn’t for gay men, I would not exist – I owe my life to gay men. It’s just what I have grown up with. It’s my family.”