- (PHOTO:REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni)
Michelle Williams has created tension after appearing on a new magazine cover in "redface."
With her usually blonde hair in long dark braids adorned with a feather and makeup styled to look Native American, the 32-year-old actress posed for the U.K. publication AnOther to promote her new movie "Oz: the Great and Powerful."
The cover has stirred controversy as many readers are offended by Williams' get-up and believe the photo perpetuates "redface," or the creation and propagation of racist American Indian stereotypes and caricatures.
Furthermore, "redface" refers to the systematic bias against hiring real Native Americans to play Native American roles shown in the film industry, according to red-face.us.
One reader, an attorney Ruth Hopkins, deemed William's portrait as "racist" in a piece she wrote for Jezebel.
"Just as Blackface is never okay, Redface is never okay," Hopkins penned, according to the website.
The attorney also took aim at the author of "The Wizard of Oz" L. Frank Baum, declaring him a "white supremacist."
Additionally, writer Lexi Nisita also scorned Williams' magazine cover, pointing out that the actress currently has blonde, cropped hair.
"So it's not like they just braided her hair coincidentally," wrote Nisita on Refinery29.com. "They added super-long, thick black extensions and braided them- and darkened her eyebrows… [the look] appears to mimic the stark relief of facial features often seen in early portraits of Native American women."
Meanwhile, AnOther has spoken out about the criticism of their cover featuring Williams.
"While we recognize the seriousness of this debate, the image in question in no way intends to mimic, trivialize or stereotype any particular ethnic group or culture, as recent reports suggest," said a spokesperson for the biannual magazine in a statement.
"The image … is one of a suite of images taken from inside the magazine, presenting Ms. Williams in a series of eight different imaginary characters," AnOther continued. "All the characters in the story were inspired by multiple fashion and cultural references, characters and eras, as well as by our admiration for Ms. Williams as one of the most respected and talented actresses of her generation. While we dispute the suggestion that the image has a racist subtext in the strongest possible terms, we're mortified to think that anyone would interpret it in this way."
See Williams dressed as eight different characters in the publication on AnOther's website here.