Update: Mischa Barton Apologizes For Her Yacht Post On Alton Sterling

Instagram: @mischamazing.
Update: Barton has apologized for her Instagram post on Twitter. "I’m human, I’m not perfect, and I’m sorry if my Instagram post went out of context,” she wrote. “I didn’t mean to offend anyone.”

This article was originally published on July 7, 2016.

Dear Mischa Barton,

Girl. Oh, girl. Where do we begin? Listen, I get it. When American tragedies happen — which is far, far, far too often these days — it can be hard to know how to respond. It's easy to feel helpless, to not know what to do beyond posting your feelings on social media. And in your defense, that's exactly what you did. I'm glad that your yacht had such a good Wi-Fi connection out on the open sea that you were able to share your message about unity in this country. And I appreciate the fact that you called Sterling's death an execution, instead of the other words that are frequently being used, like "incident."
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However, a piece of advice: When you take a stand against injustice, maybe...just maybe...it's not a great idea to do it alongside a photo of yourself on a yacht with a casual glass of rosé and the wind blowing your shirt open just so to reveal your immaculate bikini body.
I'm sure you had good intentions, but did you consider perhaps posting an actual photo of Alton Sterling on your feed? Perhaps a photo of Sterling and his family? Or would those images of a Black man and his Black family have ruined the otherwise smiley, glamorous, and — let's be honest here — white photos on your feed? Help me out, here. I'm not sure I can see the connection between the murder of a Black man at the hands of American police officers and your carefree #vacationgoals — a vacation that probably cost far more than the amount that's currently in the GoFundMe account raising funds for Sterling's suddenly fatherless children.

You've since deleted the post and I hope that this means you realized how tone-deaf the idea was in the first place. But I also hope this thoughtless, insensitive lapse in judgement helps the rest of the world realize: This. Is. Real. A tragedy, one of many tragedies that are beginning to look more like genocide than isolated "incidents." This is not the kind of topic you can wish away with "reflective" Instagram posts or casual conversations with friends over wine. For some of your fans and followers — regardless of their skin color — this has instilled a chilling, utter fear that they wake up with daily. I hope that in the future, you and others who are famous — even if it's for a long-ago role in the early '00s — will use social media as a real platform. Unlike many of us, you have the power to give injustice a voice that will be heard. So, next time: Don't just choose the last pretty Instagram photo on your camera roll because it was convenient. Give a real problem some real thought and empathy.

All the best,
A Worried Brown Girl In New York
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