Demi Lovato is apologizing for accepting a free trip to Israel after facing backlash for posting about her “absolutely magical” vacation on Instagram.
The “Sorry Not Sorry” singer made no mention of the long-standing Israel-Palestine conflict in a series of social media posts shared earlier this week, in which she detailed her experience of being baptized in the Jordan River and visiting various sites in the country.
Many on social media believed Lovato was giving support to the discriminatory oppressive policies of the Israeli government against the Palestinian people despite her recent plea that it was “spiritual experience for me NOT A POLITICAL STATEMENT.”
After disabling the comments on her account, an “extremely frustrated” Lovato explained her stance in a now-deleted message, in which the singer reveals she accepted the trip “in exchange for a few posts” on social media.
“No one told me there would be anything wrong with going or that I could possibly be offending anyone,” she wrote on Instagram Stories on Wednesday. “With that being said, I’m sorry if I hurt or offended anyone, that was not my intention. Sometimes people present you with opportunities and no one tells you the potential backlash you could face in return.”
Fans of the singer aired their disappointment online, with many calling Lovato’s credibility as an activist into question.
“This really disappointed me,” one fan wrote. “Demi really should educate herself better on the conflict between Israel and Palestine.”
“How does Demi call her self an ‘activist’ or whatever but not have a view point of Palestine and Israel,” another added. “I understand not knowing the situation in detail since it’s very complex, but she’s like ‘oh, nobody told me about what’s probably the biggest geographical and political conflict in the world.’”
Lovato went on to apologize in her post, while noting that many advised her not to speak out on the issue.
“Now I realize it hurt people and for that I’m sorry,” the Disney Channel alum continued. “Sorry I’m not more educated, and sorry for thinking this trip was just a spiritual experience.”
She concluded: “I’d rather get in trouble for being authentic to myself, than staying quiet to please other people. I love my fans, all of them, from all over.”
In her original posts, Lovato recounted her experience visiting the Western Wall, the country’s Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem, and the disability organization Shalva.
But she appeared to be most moved by her baptism in the Jordan River, writing that she’s “never felt more renewed in my life.”
“This trip has been so important for my well-being, my heart and my soul,” she wrote at the time. “I’m grateful for the memories made and the opportunity to be able to fill the God-sized hole in my heart. Thank you for having me Israel.”