Forgetting someone’s name is a common mistake, especially if you just met for a few minutes and never saw each other for a long time. But deliberately getting it wrong and not double-checking for accuracy is another issue entirely.
Vogue made this mistake when they released their February issue featuring journalist and activist Noor Taghouri. She discovered that the magazine misnamed her Noor Bukhari, who is a Pakistani actress.
In an Instagram video, you’ll see Noor’s expression change from excitement to devastation when she first saw her spread. Not only is this a big no-no on Vogue‘s part, but it’s a slap in the face especially when she’s an activist fighting against misrepresentation. She said that this “is a constant problem if you are Muslim in America. And as much as I work to fight this, there are moments like this where I feel defeated.”
Noor also mentioned that this was not the first time it’s happened and how such incidents have endangered her life. Refinery29 cited that she was once misnamed as Noor Salman, the wife of the Pulse Nightclub shooter.
The magazine later issued an apology to Noor and edited the text online with an erratum.
Diet Prada weighed in on the faux pas, theorizing that Vogue “couldn’t see past the headscarf,” which both Tagouri and Bukhari wear. If it’s true, it’s equally offensive because it’s like saying that all Muslims or people of Middle-Eastern descent are the same; it doesn’t matter if we get their names mixed up.
Despite this, Noor kept a positive mind and suggested that Vogue should “foster candid and open conversations about representation, culture, and intention.” She added, “When celebrating people of color and marginalized communities—meditate on your intention in doing so. Is it to fill a diversity quota? Or is it because you truly see the light, value, and strength in the communities that are rarely passed the mic.”
Let this be a learning curve for all publications to verify names before printing. You’ll never know who you’ll offend.