Tyra Banks agrees with the 'insensitivity' of old ‘America’s Next Top Model’ episodes: ‘Those were some really off choices’

Tyra Banks has acknowledged the "insensitivity" of some classic "American's Next Top Model" moments. (Photo: Liu Guanguan/China News Service/VCG via Getty Images)

Tyra Banks is acknowledging the “insensitivity” of classic America’s Next Top Model clips that resurfaced this week, branding the supermodel as “toxic.”

“Been seeing the posts about the insensitivity of some past ANTM moments and I agree with you,” Banks, 46, tweeted on Friday night. “Looking back, those were some really off choices. Appreciate your honest feedback and am sending so much love and virtual hugs.”

Banks hosted and executive produced the reality show, which aired from 2003 to 2018 on several networks before joining Hulu in 2016. Some of the show’s most questionable clips were tweeted by people who felt the show didn’t depict the inclusivity it championed. America’s Next Top Model has featured models who are plus-size, transgender and those with alopecia (an autoimmune disease that causes hair loss) and the skin condition vitiligo. And Banks often advocates for body positivity in the media.

One criticized clip featured Cycle 6 winner Dani Evans, who was admonished by the judges for not closing the gap in her teeth after a group visit to the dentist. “Do you really think you can have a CoverGirl contract with a gap in your mouth?” asked Banks.

When the model answered, “Yes, why not?” and agreed to partially close it, Banks said the look wasn’t “marketable.” Co-judge Jay Alexander added, “Well, I guess she just left the ‘gap’ wide open for another girl, baby.” This week, Evans addressed the 2006 scene on Instagram, sharing that during elimination, she felt “set up” because she wasn’t told beforehand that Banks had requested the dental work.

On Instagram, Evans spoke out for the little girls growing up with beauty standards. “...To all of my young queens who saw that episode who were truly affected by Tyra’s words...you’re beautiful. And I’m not talking about a physical feature. It doesn’t matter if you have a gap...it doesn’t matter if you’re black, brown, white...what makes you beautiful is in here,” she said, pointing to her heart. “I want to remind you of your worth. You’re a masterpiece...” Former ANTM judge Jay Manuel wrote under the video, “Yes.... speak your #truth!”

Another controversial clip included a 2009 Hawaiian photo shoot that depicted models as different races and a 2005 scene in which Banks gave model Tiffany Richardson tough love by famously screaming at her, “I was rooting for you! We were all rooting for you!” (Banks told BuzzFeed in 2017 that in hindsight, “I wouldn’t have done it.”)

Banks’s Friday tweet didn’t cut it for those who wanted a detailed apology, including personal ones to the models in question. And some dredged up a reported feud between Banks and fellow model Naomi Campbell, referring to Banks as a “villain.”

On Friday, ANTM producer Ken Mock supported Banks by tweeting, “Want to reiterate what @tyrabanks said. I look at some of those  #ANTM moments and cringe. Just a FYI — the entire creative team made the choices in those shows — not just Tyra.  So please feel free to yell at me for some of the worst moments in ANTM history!  Apologies to all.”

Others backed Banks by saying that ANTM was one of the most diverse shows in television history and said “cancel culture” drove the criticism.


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