Gisele Bündchen Defends Doutzen Kroes Amid Backlash Over COVID Vaccine Post

Gisele Bündchen has spoken out in defense of fellow model Doutzen Kroes, after the latter's post on Instagram rejecting a "forced" COVID vaccination sparked a wave of backlash.

Kroes shared a post on her Instagram grid for the first time in six months on Saturday, during which she spoke out against being "forced to take" the COVID-19 vaccine amid the ongoing pandemic.

The Dutch model's post divided her more than 6.8 million followers, with some throwing their support behind the sentiment, while others slammed her stance and the effect it would have on reducing case numbers.

Amid an onslaught of criticism, Bündchen shared a comment under Kroes' post, in which she hit out at the "lack of empathy" shown by a number of those attacking her fellow former Victoria's Secret Angel.

"I know Doutzen and she is a kind and loving person," Bündchen wrote. "I can't believe the hate being directed at her because she expressed her feelings. It saddens me to see all the judgment and the lack of empathy in so many peoples hearts. Hate is not the answer.

"The only way we can create a better world is trough compassion and acceptance. I invite you to silence your mind and go deep within to find love in your heart so we can all unite in peace and create harmony in our lives and in our world. We need it more than ever🙏❤️🌍."

While it is unclear if Bündchen has taken the COVID vaccine, her husband, Tom Brady, was vaccinated along with his Tampa Bay Buccaneers teammates.

In her post, Kroes shared a close-up snapshot of herself as she commented on her social media break, while also sharing her thoughts on the vaccine.

She wrote: "The past few months have been very peaceful without social media:)
A part of me wanted to escape into my family bubble and leave everything up to faith. That part of me believes in the power of consciousness, that whatever you give energy to will grow.

"So I tried to ignore the negative and focus on the positive. But at this point I can no longer turn a blind eye to the injustice that is happening right in front of us.

"Other people have given me hope and strength with their courage to stand up for our rights. They touched my heart and inspired me to do the same.

"So although my hands are shaking while writing this, I feel it is time to choose courage over comfort and speak my truth: I will not be forced to take the shot."

"I will not be forced to prove my health to participate in society," she continued. "I will not accept exclusion of people based on their medical status.

"Freedom of speech is a right worth fighting for but we can only solve this united in peace and love! Pass on the torch of hope and love and speak your truth. ❤️"

Earlier this month, President Joe Biden announced that federal government contractors and executive branch employees must be vaccinated, as he shared details of several policies regarding COVID-19 vaccine mandates.

Per the mandate, it is now required that businesses with 100 or more employees ensure all of their employees are vaccinated or produce a negative test.

A recent Fox News poll—which was conducted between September 12 and 15—found that 54 percent of Americans support vaccination requirements for indoor activities.

Gisele Bündchen and Doutzen Kroes
(L-R) Gisele Bündchen has spoken out in defense of fellow model Doutzen Kroes, after she faced backlash for her anti-vaccination post on Instagram over the weekend. George Pimentel/Getty Images;/Rosdiana Ciaravolo/Getty Images