Actress Eva Amurri Martino, the daughter of Susan Sarandon and Italian director Franco Amurri, faced severe backlash on social media for the crime of throwing her five-year-old daughter a Mexican-themed birthday while not being of Mexican descent herself.
The outrage began when Martino posted several photos of the party on Instagram, which featured her daugher, Marlowe, wearing sugar skull face paint. Critics accused her of cultural appropriation while perpetuating Mexican stereotypes. In a lengthy response, the actress said she never wished to offend anyone and only hosted the party due to her daughter's love of the Disney animated film "Coco."
"With everything going on in this political climate, I thought now would be a great time to celebrate Mexico and the role it has had in our country culturally," Martino said in her post. "Anybody who knows Marlowe knows she is obsessed with Mexico — she has had incredible Latin women taking care of her from three weeks old, and one in particular from Mexico who would always call her 'cinco de Marlowe' on May 5th."
Martino added that her daughter Marlowe actually learned Spanish before English, which made her "really proud that she was getting so much from another culture."
"When the movie Coco came out, Marlowe loved it and felt really connected to it because she had heard about a lot of the themes of the movie from people she cares about," continued the actress. "She wanted all these things brought together for her fifth birthday since she was finally, actually turning 'cinco!' Of course this party was a rudimentary representation of Mexican culture since it was for young kids."
The actress also defended herself against charges of insensitivity by noting that she and her husband have been working to help alleviate the crisis at the southern border.
"This aside, we don't only think it's important to highlight the beauty of Mexican culture, or the horrors of the attack on Mexicans of late, with a bday party," she concluded. "From when this all first started, we have been donating to those effected — and I also wrote a blog post which I'm putting in my bio. We also have been calling our senators ... Regardless of that, I know so many emotions are running high right now surrounding this topic, so sorry to anyone we offended!"
People on social media largely responded to Martino's post with grace and enthusiasm, thanking her for highlighting the beauty of Mexican culture.
"I didn't understand why some were offended. It's a party, a little girl party not an exhibition of Mexican culture, not a museum ... it's beautiful to know that not Mexicans like the Mexican culture," said one user.
"Such a beautiful party and such a sweet touching post. As another Mexican follower this is so heartwarming. I wish more people wished to understand each other's culture," said another.
The incident echoes the outrage that actor Kevin Hart endured from social justice warriors after hosting a "Cowboys and Indians"-themed birthday party for his son. Hart said the outrage showed "just how stupid our world is becoming."
"The reason why I'm even bringing this dumb s**t up is because it shows just how stupid our world is becoming with opinions," Hart said on SiriusXM. "People are at a point of an all-time high, to throw racial judgment into the development of a one-year-old's birthday party where the theme is Cowboys and Indians, and it's based around the outfits that are given to these young kids."