Cultural appropriation is extremely common — and, fortunately, so is being called out for it. What's unusual, though, is someone calling themselves out for it — stepping forward of their own volition, months after originally being bashed — to offer up a sincere (if belated) apology. That's exactly what Chris Hemsworth did this week with his heartfelt and humble mea culpa for an offensive costume he wore last December. The actor, his wife, Elsa Pataky, and his brother Luke dressed up as Native Americans for a Lone Ranger-themed New Year's Eve party last year. Pataky shared a photo of them and some other friends in costume, but deleted it from Instagram after receiving extensive backlash from followers and many in the media. Though Hemsworth took a lot of heat for his actions, he did not publicly address or apologize for the incident at the time.
Now, the Aussie is bringing his own mistake to the forefront to say sorry and explain that he's learned his lesson. Hemsworth posted a photo with Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi in support of Native American rights. "Standing with those who are fighting to protect their sacred land and water," the actor wrote. (Advocates are specifically protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline, an oil pipeline pitting law enforcement against Native American communities and their allies, who fear it will degrade their environment and water sources; over 100 protestors were arrested yesterday.)
The 33-year-old took the opportunity to apologize for his own small contribution to the cultural appropriation and societal marginalization of Native Americans. "I would also like to take this opportunity to raise something that has been bothering me for sometime," he wrote. "Last New Year's Eve I was at a 'Lone Ranger' themed party where some of us, myself included, wore the traditional dress of First Nations people. I was stupidly unaware of the [offense] this may have caused and the sensitivity around this issue." He continued, "I sincerely and unreservedly [apologize] to all First Nations people for this thoughtless action. I now appreciate that there is a great need for a deeper understanding of the complex and extensive issues facing indigenous communities. I hope that in highlighting my own ignorance I can help in some small way."
We truly applaud Hemsworth for fully acknowledging his wrongdoing, expressing his regrets, and emphasizing the need for continued progress on these issues. His commenters feel the same way. "Most would ignore their past indiscretions, you are brave to admit them instead. Good for you!" one fan wrote. "Thank you for standing up for Native people and holding yourself accountable. We appreciate everything you're doing!" commented another. "It takes a lot of courage to admit a mistake @chrishemsworth you are a true gent," another supporter wrote. What a gentleman, indeed.