Model Winnie Harlow has responded to backlash over accusations of fat-shaming on social media.
In a short video posted to Instagram, 22-year-old Harlow, who has become famous as a model with vitiligo for promoting body positivity, zoomed in on a man's protruding belly during an outing on a private yacht, adding the sarcastic caption, "Sexy views... you're welcome," the Daily Mail reports.
Spokespeople for the model said that the man in the video was Lewis Hamilton's uncle, who was also seen on Harlow's Instagram playing jumprope, continuing the group's gag about his weight.
The spokespeople said that the man was in on the joke in Harlow's Instagram story, and had been posing with his belly out.
A number of commenters were furious with Harlow for what they perceived to amount to fat-shaming, according to the Daily Mirror.
"It's never OK to humiliate and make fun of other people," said one commenter.
"You're supposed to be a role model," wrote another user. "You of all people should have thought twice before uploading that picture. At least the guy in the picture can lose the weight!"
Another went even further, writing, "This woman is vile."
After the negative feedback, Harlow posted an image of herself kissing the man on the cheek, saying, "Sorry to disappoint y'all but that's something I would never do," referring to fat-shaming the man. "We are all on holiday together and have been having an amazing time (including the jokes we crack on each other)."
She commented on a story about the video published by the Daily Mail, reports TMZ.
"That 'random passenger on the boat' is like my uncle and was a family joke. He was actually poking out his tummy for the photo."
She added that the Daily Mail were "the real bullies for not fact-checking before slandering my name."
The man in the video has also come to Harlow's defense, writing, "Family jokes, relax people!"
Harlow has been an advocate for diversity and body positivity, saying that she was bullied for her condition in school.
"I learned to love who I am despite what anyone would say about or to me. This gave me the courage to really stand up to anyone or any obstacle in my life," explained Harlow in an interview.
"I think the industry is opening up but still needs to accept various forms of beauty as a standard, as opposed to an occurrence now and then," she added. "I want to see different faces on the covers of magazines, the stars of movies, featured on billboards... It's time we open the market up and embrace people from all walks of life."