Salma Hayek had to apologize after she endorsed a new novel, American Dirt, without reading a single page, a new report from The Washington Post revealed. Published on Tuesday, the story explores the life of a Mexican woman who flees to the United States with her 8-year-old son to get away from the violent cartels.
Thus far, the book has been praised by some of the most prolific authors, including Ann Patchett and Stephen King, and was recently chosen by Oprah Winfrey for her book club. This Saturday, the book soared to the number 4 spot on Amazon’s bestseller list.
However, many Mexican-American writers have described the book as one that promotes stereotypes and doesn’t have the proper cultural information to tell the story. Cummins, who isn’t a Mexican, wrote in her author’s note that she was unsure about penning the novel.
She wanted the book to bridge the gap between Mexico and the United States, and also explore the issue of immigration. Earlier this week, Hayek posted a picture on Instagram in which she was holding the book and also praising Winfrey for “giving a voice to the voiceless.”
On Friday, Salma received criticism for promoting the book which has been described as controversial. Hayek apologized on her IG account for promoting something she didn’t read or do research on. According to the book’s Wikipedia Page, it has been criticized for its inaccurate depiction of Latin culture.
Myriam Gurba, for instance, wrote in Tropics of Meta that the main protagonist looks at the Mexican world as if an American tourist. David Bowles, writing for Medium, described the book as “inappropriate” and also facilitating “trauma-porn melodrama.”
Furthermore, Barbara VanDenburgh said the book was “problematic, and claims that it “reeks of opportunism.” Barbara went on to criticize the fact that the woman writing the book wasn’t a Mexican immigrant herself.
Followers of popular culture may know that the issue of cultural appropriation has become a topic of concern among Hollywood, social media, and the broadcasting media.