Gigi and Bella Hadid’s father apologises for sending homophobic messages to Black, gay congressman

Mohamed Hadid, the father of supermodels Bella and Gigi Hadid, has apologised for sending a barrage of “hateful” messages to gay Afro-Latino congressman Ritchie Torres.

The New York Post revealed that Hadid, a real estate developer, had “spent months bombarding Rep. Ritchie Torres with dozens of racist and homophobic messages”, describing them as “hateful”, and shared screenshots of the exchanges.

The messages were promoted by Torres’ support of Israel in the ongoing Israel-Hamas war. Torres recently travelled to Israel, where he visited Gaza Strip border communities and the Nova festival massacre site, according to The Jerusalem Post.

Hadid, 75, was born into a Palestinian Muslim family in Nazareth. During the 1947–1949 Palestine War, he and his family fled to Lebanon. He and his family lived in Syria, Damascus, Tunisia and Greece before moving to Washington when he was 14 years old.

Out gay congressman Ritchie Torres in a brown suit jacket and pink shirt
Ritchie Torres is the first LGBTQ+ Afro-Latino congressman.(Noam Galai/Getty)

One of the messages from Hadid’s verified Instagram account to Torres reads: “You worse than the rats of New York sewage system. They have bigger brains than you. You might get a job as bouncer at gay bar.”

Another said: “You are just unusual Black and colorful mouth for Israeli and AIPAC and looking for payday of over 500K.” The American Israel Public Affairs Committee is a pro-Israel lobbying group.”

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A third message says: ““Make sure you dress as KKK to hide that ugly gray colored face of yours.”

36-year-old Torres denounced the messages, saying: “Whether it is dehumanizing me as worse than the rats of the NYC sewage system or telling me to dress like the KKK to ‘hide that gray colored face of yours,’” Mr. Hadid has hurled just about every racist insult at me short of calling me the N-word.”

“That Mr. Hadid felt so at ease demonizing and dehumanizing a black Member of Congress reveals a tragic truth about our politics: if you are a person of color and pro-Israel, you are fair game for racist invective,” he added.

After the story broke, Hadid apologised in an Instagram post, describing himself as a refugee and writing: “I need to apologize. Not for the anger I feel but for the words I used to express that anger. I intended to express how Mr Torres is a shill being used by Israel.”

He went on to accuse Israel of “pinkwashing their atrocities using their projected gay rights as a shield for their human rights violations… I used the wrong words to express this anger but the anger is warranted.”