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Irina Shayk’s #BringBackOurGirls topless picture sparks backlash

Internet users slammed the model girlfriend of Cristiano Ronaldo for her show of support to 200 kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls

Published: Updated:

Irina Shayk, the Russian-born model girlfriend of Real Madrid forward superstar Cristiano Ronaldo, has found herself embroiled in controversy after a raunchy attempt to back a popular campaign for the release of Nigerian schoolgirls abducted by militant group Boko Haram.

Shayk, 28, recently posted a picture on social media sites Instagram and Facebook holding a #BringBackOurGirls placard over her chest, associating herself with the internet campaign - most famously backed by U.S. First Lady Barack Obama - to rescue schoolgirls who were abducted last month by Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram.

However, aside from some admiration from internet users towards Shayk’s sun-kissed complexion and toned physique, others were quick to criticize her semi-naked photos.

“This is utterly distasteful, IGNORANT, vile and egregious. Stop your self-pandering. Using a cause as horrible as the kidnapping of these poor girls and making it about you is messed up. It's shameless,” wrote a Facebook user in a comment on the picture.

“Do you even care about those girls? …it seems not, just pathetic self-promotion and jumping on the bandwagon,” wrote another, adding that Shayk’s boyfriend “the most narcissistic male in sport” was the right match for her.

Worthwhile

But several other commenters said that Shayk was doing her part to raise awareness to the cause, claiming that any publicity for the campaign was worthwhile.

In addition to the U.S. first lady taking part in the internet campaign, other well-known figures such as UK Prime Minister David Cameron, Pakistani teenage education activist Malala Yousafzai, and English fashion model Cara Delevingne.

Diana Moukalled, an Al Arabiya News columnist, wrote that the #BringBackOurGirls campaign is unlikely to change the mind of the Boko Haram, although may help motivate foreign governments to step in.

“Nobody expects selfie photos and hashtags alone to lead to social change, because the only thing that can truly achieve that is government pressure. But governments do listen and act when enough people take a stance,” said Moukalled.