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German radio station apologises for remarks about BTS

Music|: A Bavarian radio station apologised Friday for a host’s comments comparing popular South Korean K-Pop band BTS to the coronavirus, saying his choice of words had gone too far but was in no way meant to be “hurtful or racist.” The statement came after legions of fans accused the station’s Matthias Matuschik of racism for his comments on the band’s cover of Coldplay’s ‘Fix You,’ taking to social media using the hashtags #Bayern3Racist, #Bayern3Apologize and #RassismusBeiBayern3 which translates as “racism at Bayern3.” “Racism is not an option,” wrote one user, @Vroseeeee1 in a blunt tweet in English, German, Korean and Spanish. The uproar came after a live show Wednesday, in which Matuschik derided BTS’s version of ‘Fix You’ as “blasphemy” and compared the band to COVID-19, describing them as “some [expletive] virus that hopefully there will be a vaccine for soon as well.” He then dug his hole deeper as he tried to roll back the comment somewhat, saying “I have nothing against South Korea, you can’t accuse me of xenophobia only because this boyband is from South Korea... I have a car from South Korea. I have the coolest car around.” Then he went on to say that in penance for the cover, BTS “will be vacationing in North Korea for the next 20 years.” BTS, which debuted in 2013, has become the biggest boy band in the world, selling out stadiums worldwide and delivering a video message at the UN General Assembly this year. Their songs, filled with intimate, socially conscious lyrics, are credited for their success. Unlike other K-Pop bands that carefully maintain the personas created by their labels, BTS is known for its active engagement with fans — known as ARMY — through social media. BTS has over 33.1 million followers on Twitter. Offence at the comments didn’t only come from South Korea, with many social media users in Germany and elsewhere immediately condemning them. “I know which radio station I won’t be listening to anymore, bye @Bayern3,” wrote user @fairesvmns in a German-language post that included audio of Matuschik’s comments. “I really don’t need racism of this shape and form in 2021.” Many South Koreans living abroad expressed concerns that the remarks could incite anti-Asian violence, already on the rise in many places. “This is not just about #BTS, it is about so many Asian people who are dealing with extreme racism especially due to pandemic,” Hansl Chang, a South Korean who lives in Germany, tweeted. In the station’s apology, it said that while Matuschik was “presenting his opinion in an ironic, exaggerated way and with exaggerated excitement, his words went too far and hurt the feelings of BTS fans. “But he — and he has assured us of this — in no way intended this. He just wanted to express his displeasure over the aforementioned cover version.” It noted that Matuschik has been involved in helping raise aid for refugees and has a “constant campaign against right-wing extremism” and has shown he is against xenophobia or racism in any form. “That does not change the fact that many of you found his statements to be hurtful or racist,” Bayern3 said. “We apologise for this in every way possible. We will work on the matter with Matthias and the team in detail again in the next few days.”

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Anupam Kher ‘honoured’ to receive Modi’s signed letter

BollyWood|: Actor Anupam Kher on Friday expressed that he is honoured and humbled to receive a letter from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, about his latest book titled ‘Your Best Day Is Today’. “Honourable Prime Minister @narendramodi ji ! Thank you for this beautiful, generous and full of warmth letter to me about my book #YourBestDayIsToday. It really touched my heart!” Kher wrote on Instagram. “I feel honoured and humbled that you actually took the time out to go through my book. You are an amazingly inspirational leader!” The actor also shared the letter signed and addressed to him by the Prime Minister. The letter reads: “Shri Anupam Kher Ji, I was delighted to receive your book ‘Your Best Day Is Today’. It is a timely book given the recent developments over the past year.” “Right at the beginning of the book, I read that the title of the book is a phrase that your mother used to tell you everyday as a child. The wisdom of your mother, Smt. Dulari Ji, in filling such positivity and spirit of purpose in her child each day has clearly paid off in your achievements,” Modi added. “It is clear that it was the same spirit that helped her as well as your family to overcome the moments of crisis that the pandemic brought into your lives.” Kher published his first book ‘The Best Thing About You Is You!’ in 2011, and his biographical work, ‘Lessons Life Taught Me Unknowingly’, in 2019. He wrote ‘Your Best Day Is Today’ last year, recounting his experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Prince Harry hops on a bus for candid interview with James Corden

HollyWood|Europe|: Prince Harry has shown his funny and playful side while on an interview with James Corden, that saw them have tea on an open-top bus and crawl through mud together on an obstacle course in Los Angeles. Harry, who is married to former actress Meghan Markle, also got candid about the “toxic” British press and how despite splitting from the royal family he would never quit public service. “We all know what the British press could be like, and it was destroying my mental health. I was like this is toxic. So I did what any husband and what any father would do is like, I need to get my family out of here,” he told US-based British host Corden on the segment for ‘The Late Late Show with James Corden’. Meghan, who is half African-American, faced a barrage of criticism from the press and the public after marrying Harry; many have said this was due to her race. Earlier this month, Meghan successfully sued one tabloid for breaching her privacy by printing extracts of a letter she wrote to her father while last month Harry won a libel case against the same paper over a story which said he had turned his back on the military. Last week, Buckingham Palace announced that Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, would not return to the Royal Family as working members. In January 2020, the couple had said they would be stepping back from royal duties, and later moved to Los Angeles. “We never walked away and as far as I’m concerned whatever decisions are made on that side, I will never walk away. I will always be contributing, but my life is public service, so wherever I am in the world, it’s going to be the same thing,” Harry said. The ‘Suits’ actress also made an appearance on the show when Corden hopped on a video chat with her. The Duchess is pregnant with her second child after son Archie. (Harry revealed that the one-year-old’s first word was crocodile!) On a lighter note, Harry also spoke about what it was like dating while being a royal. “Dating me or any member of the royal family is kind of flipped upside down. All the dates become dinners or watching the TV or chatting at home,” he said. Harry, 36, and Meghan, 39, started dating in 2016 and got married in May 2018 at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle. — With inputs from Reuters

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Rakhi Sawant and cancer-stricken mum thank Salman Khan for support

BollyWood|: Actress Rakhi Sawant has reportedly found a helping hand as her mother undergoes treatment for cancer. After the ‘Bigg Boss’ contestant left the reality TV show, she went to see her mum Jaya in the hospital and they both recorded a video thanking actor Salman Khan and his family for their support. “Thank you, my son, Salman Khan. Thank you, Sohail. I am in the hospital right now and I am undergoing chemotherapy. Today, I completed four [rounds] and two more are left. After that, I will be operated on. I wish for your success and that you remain safe and sound. God is with you. May God fulfill all your dreams,” Jaya said in Hindi, according to IANS. Sawant added: “Thank you Salman ji, you are a rockstar!” Salman Khan is the host of ‘Bigg Boss’ and Sawant said in an interview that he helped her survive the reality show. “He is a rockstar, and a legend in true self,” the actress told Indian Express. “He really supported me a lot, and I don’t think I would have managed to survive the game without him.” Sawant also explained that she chose to leave the show before the finale because she needed the Rs1.4 million (Dh70,284) that was being offered. “It was just a matter of a few hours, and at the end only one had to win. If I would have lost, I would be left with nothing. At least, I have a huge sum of money with me now,” she said. “I have zero bank balance at the moment, and I needed the money for my mother’s medical needs. I have spent all my savings in the last few years on her surgeries, and needed financial backing. I have no regrets, as that moment all I could think of was the growing bills that I need to pay soon.” Sawant is no stranger to ‘Bigg Boss’; she was a contestant on the controversial show’s first season in 2006.

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Bollywood: Hrithik Roshan’s statement to be recorded in case against Kangana Ranaut

BollyWood|: Bollywood star Hrithik Roshan has been summoned to appear before the Mumbai crime branch at 11am on Saturday to record his statement in a case he registered against actress Kangana Ranaut in 2016 involving an exchange of emails between the two. In 2016, Roshan had filed a complaint alleging that someone impersonating him was emailing Ranaut from a bogus email ID. Ranaut had then claimed that the email ID was provided to her by Roshan and they had been communicating through the same email ID until 2014. The emails were allegedly sent in 2013 and 2014. Kangana Ranaut. Image Credit: IANS In 2016, Roshan had sent a legal notice to Ranaut after she had referred to him as a silly ex. Roshan had denied having any kind of relationship with Ranaut. The two actors had worked together in the films ‘Kites’ (2010) and ‘Krrish 3’ (2013). Roshan had then claimed that Ranaut had been sending him hundreds of absurd emails. In 2016, the Cyber Cell had also taken Roshan’s laptop and phone for investigation. Read more Hrithik Roshan speaks out against Kangana Ranaut Kangana Ranaut on why she’s reviving the Hrithik drama Roshan had accused Ranaut of harassing him by sending him hundreds of emails. Following an initial probe, police recorded Ranaut’s statement after concluding that the emails were allegedly sent from her ID. However, Ranaut has denied sending emails to Roshan. In December 2020, the case, which was earlier with the Cyber Cell of the Mumbai police, was transferred to Criminal Intelligence Unit (CIU) on a request made by Roshan’s lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani.

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‘Matilda’ actress Mara Wilson empathises with Britney Spears

HollyWood|: Actress and author Mara Wilson, known for her work in ‘Matilda,’ ‘Mrs Doubtfire’ and 1994’s ‘Miracle on 34th Street,’ has penned a powerful essay for the New York Times about Britney Spears and the perils of child stardom. On Tuesday, the NYT published an opinion piece in which Wilson, 33, recalled feeling manipulated and sexualised by the media from a young age — and empathised with pop icon Spears, whom she once told a reporter she hated at age 13. “I didn’t actually hate Britney Spears,” Wilson wrote. “But I would never have admitted to liking her. There was a strong streak of ‘Not Like the Other Girls’ in me at the time, which feels shameful now — although hadn’t I had to believe that, when I’d spent so much of my childhood auditioning against so many other girls? “Some of it was pure jealousy, that she was beautiful and cool in a way I’d never be. I think mostly, I had already absorbed the version of The Narrative surrounding her.” Wilson’s reflection comes weeks after FX’s buzzy documentary series ‘Framing Britney Spears’ sparked widespread conservations about how the toxic media circus has failed promising young female talent by relentlessly scrutinising their every move and harassing them in their darkest moments. Additionally, the doc illuminates the many ways in which media figures sexualised Spears as a minor — probing the young artist about her romantic interests, breasts and sexual activity. Wilson could relate. “I never appeared in anything more revealing than a knee-length sundress,” Wilson wrote of her early acting credits. “This was all intentional: My parents thought I would be safer that way. But it didn’t work. People had been asking me, ‘Do you have a boyfriend?’ in interviews since I was 6. Reporters asked me who I thought the sexiest actor was and about Hugh Grant’s arrest for soliciting a prostitute. Read more Justin Timberlake apologises to Britney Spears and Janet Jackson Britney Spears’ boyfriend Sam Asghari calls out her father Jamie Stars support Britney Spears after release of documentary Has ‘Framing Britney Spears’ unveiled sexism of the entertainment industry? “It was cute when 10-year-olds sent me letters saying they were in love with me. It was not when 50-year-old men did. Before I even turned 12, there were images of me on foot fetish websites and Photoshopped into child pornography. Every time, I felt ashamed. Hollywood has resolved to tackle harassment in the industry, but I was never sexually harassed on a film set. My sexual harassment always came at the hands of the media and the public.” Wilson also remembered being labelled a “spoiled brat” by a Canadian news outlet after confiding in a journalist about her experience working nearly non-stop as a child. It was her 13th birthday, and she was disappointed to have spent it in back-to-back interviews on a press tour for 2000’s ‘Thomas and the Magic Railroad.’ “The way people talked about Britney Spears was terrifying to me then, and it still is now,” Wilson continued in her essay. “Her story is a striking example of a phenomenon I’ve witnessed for years: Our culture builds these girls up just to destroy them. Fortunately people are becoming aware of what we did to Ms Spears and starting to apologise to her. But we’re still living with the scars.”

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Jill Biden gives Kelly Clarkson advice about healing from divorce

HollyWood|Americas|: For her first solo broadcast interview since the inauguration, First Lady Jill Biden sat down with singer and TV host Kelly Clarkson for a conversation touching on everything from the steamy Netflix hit ‘Bridgerton’ to challenging relationships. While sitting several feet apart in the White House, Biden and Clarkson shifted from one topic to the next in their interview for Thursday’s edition of ‘The Kelly Clarkson Show.’ When the subject of divorce came up, Biden gave some hopeful advice to the Grammy-winning musician, who filed for divorce from her music-manager husband, Brandon Blackstock, in June. “If you can take it one day at a time, things will get better,” said Biden, who went through a divorce before marrying then-Senator Joe Biden, a widower, in 1977. “You know, I look back on it now, and I think: If I hadn’t gotten divorced, I would’ve never met Joe. I wouldn’t have the beautiful family I have now,” Biden added. “So I really think things happen for the best. And I think, Kelly, over time — I don’t know how long it’s been for you — but I think, over time, you heal. “You’re going to be surprised,” Biden concluded, “and I can’t wait until that day comes for you. And you’re going to call me up and say, ‘Hey, Jill! You were right.’” Clarkson, who has described her life as “a little bit of a dumpster” since her divorce proceedings began, nodded in agreement. Clarkson is contending with a labour dispute over whether Blackstock’s agency, which managed her for 13 years, overcharged for its services. The ‘Since U Been Gone’ artist, who was married for seven years, told The Times in September that she will be unable “to be truly open about this in certain aspects because there’s kids involved,” referring to the two children she shares with Blackstock, along with his children from a previous marriage. Per Biden’s request, Clarkson performed her rendition of the ‘60s hit ‘Get Together:’ “Come on, people now / Smile on your brother / Everybody get together / Try to love one another right now,” she sang. Clarkson also engaged Biden in a game in which the first lady, who’s also an English professor who doesn’t mind being called Dr Jill Biden, had to blurt out the first thing that came to mind after hearing something. When Clarkson said ‘Bridgerton,’ Biden responded with: “Costumes, romance!” “We’re so different,” said Clarkson, recalling the wedding-night scene in Episode 5. “My first word would’ve been different.”

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Hollywood star Rebel Wilson set to host reality show about dog grooming

HollyWood|: Rebel Wilson is going to the dogs. And it’s not the first time. The Australian actress comes from a family with a long history of handling and grooming dogs and will return to her roots as host of ABC’s ‘Pooch Perfect,’ an eight-episode series featuring 10 dog groomers and their assistants competing in challenges. She said Thursday that her great-grandmother began a beagle club in Australia and that her mother judges dog shows internationally. As a child, Wilson travelled in her family’s yellow van to shows and sold grooming products despite being allergic to dogs. “My mom was devastated when I chose not to continue the family legacy,” Wilson said in a virtual call with the Television Critics Association. “When I told her I wasn’t going to continue in the family business and try to be an international movie star, she cried. I had to tell her in a public place so she wouldn’t do anything too crazy.” In the show, Lisa Vanderpump, dog groomer Jorge Bendersky and veterinarian Callie Harris will vote on creations from dog groomers and one team will be sent back to the doghouse — or eliminated — each week. The remaining teams square off in a grooming transformation. The top three teams will compete for $100,000 (Dh367,300). The show debuts March 30 and is based on an Australian version. ‘Pooch Perfect’ is Wilson’s first project after undergoing her own transformation. She lost 60 pounds during her self-proclaimed year of health last year. “I’ve been showing it off on Instagram a bit too shamelessly,” she said. “I get two looks per episode, and I like to work with my stylist and show off the new physique because still single. So this is my prime-time opportunity to just really put it out there.” Wilson worked without a studio audience because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, the seats are filled with stuffed animals. “I do try to bring the comedy in the show,” she said. “I also do what’s called ‘dogography’ in the show, which is a new term I invented. We dress the PAs [production assistants] up in dog costumes, and I work out little dances. I tried to lighten it up.”

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Hollywood: 'The Great Gatsby' to be made into animated feature film

HollyWood|: Writer F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1925 classic novel ‘The Great Gatsby’ is set to be made into an animated feature film. The adaptation will be helmed by William Joyce, Oscar winner in 2012 in the Best Short Film (Animated) category for his film, ‘The Fantastic Flying Books Of Mr. Morris Lessmore’. Writer Brian Selznick is also associated with the project. An official announcement on the cast is yet to be made. Joyce said: "Gatsby continues to cast a powerful spell over readers unlike any other book in American letters. Much of the power of Gatsby comes from the enchantment of Fitzgerald's prose. He created a vivid dreamscape that, to some degree, has eluded filmmakers since the silent era." He added: "The previous film versions were constrained by live action, but innovative animation could finally realise the elusive quality of the novel." Joyce will direct the animated feature, based on a script by Selznick, author of ‘The Invention Of Hugo Cabret’ (which was adapted into Martin Scorsese's 2011 release, ‘Hugo’) and ‘Wonderstruck’ (made into a film of the same name in 2017 by Todd Haynes) Selznick said: "I've been friends with William Joyce for nearly my entire career. I've always marvelled at his ability to invent indelible worlds and unforgettable characters. When he told me about his dream of making Gatsby into an animated movie, I immediately understood what a magical synthesis this could be." "I'm thrilled to help him bring this unique cinematic experience to life," he added, about the animated attempt, to be brought alive by DNEG Feature Animation. ‘The Great Gatsby’ has notably been filmed as live action films in Hollywood in 1974 and 2013. In 2013, Baz Luhrmann recreated Fitzgerald's novel for the screen with Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton and Isla Fisher. Jack Clayton's 1974 version, based on Francis Ford Coppola's screenplay, stars Robert Redford, Mia Farrow and Bruce Dern. That apart, there has been a silent film in 1926, besides a version in 1949 starring Alan Ladd, Betty Field and Macdonald Carey. In 2000, a TV film was made based on the novel, which stars Toby Stephens, Mira Sorvino, and Paul Rudd.

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‘Indian Idol’ judge Neha Kakkar gives Rs300,000 to family of Uttarakhand deluge victim

BollyWood|: Singer Neha Kakkar is giving Rs300,000 (Dh 15,099) to the family of a worker who went missing after the recent deluge in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand. This is how the news came about. In the upcoming weekend on the sets of ‘Indian Idol Season 12’, viewers will see showbiz couple Harsh Limbachiyaa and Bharti Singh hosting the show for the first time, for the special episode ‘India Ki Farmaish’, in which the contestants will sing what fans wish. Before performing on the song, contestant Pawandeep said: "Today, I would be singing the song that has been composed by my father Suresh Rajan. The title is 'Malva mein kaan karu talash' (an Uttarakhandi song)." "It will be a tribute to those who are missing due to the glacier which broke at Chamoli District, and where hundreds of labourers lost their families," he added. A family that supported Pawandeep in the show is dependent on a worker, their only earning member. The singer, incidentally, had requested Uttarakhand chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawatji to help to the families of workers whose families were affected by the calamity. After Pawandeep's performance, Kakkar told him: "You are an amazing singer, which we all know. But you are an amazing human being, too. As you are supporting the missing labourers' families, and have urged everyone to help their families, I am with you in this mission, I would like to donate three lakh rupees (Rs300,000) to the family of our missing labourer in Uttarakhand. I urge everyone to come in support and help the families." The singer added that this is a calamity and it's our duty to help the families. Kakkar is one of the judges on ‘Indian Idol 12’ that airs on Sony Entertainment Television.

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Bollywood: Kangana Ranaut talks ‘Tanu Weds Manu’, claims she’s only actress after Sridevi to try comedy

BollyWood|: Actress Kangana Ranaut celebrated 10 years since the release of her romantic comedy ‘Tanu Weds Manu’ and said she’s the only Bollywood actress to do comedy movies after Sridevi. “I was stuck in edgy/neurotic roles, this film changed the trajectory of my career, was my entry in to mainstream that too with comedy, with Queen and Datto I strengthened my comic timing and became the only actress after legendary SriDevi ji to do comedy #10yearsoftanuwedsmanu,” Ranaut tweeted. Incidentally, February 24 — just a day earlier — was Sridevi’s third death anniversary. The superstar died in an accidental drowning while on vacation in Dubai in 2018. In the 2011 movie ‘Tanu Weds Manu’, Ranaut played a free-spirited woman who is meant to get married to NRI Manu (R Madhavan) — however, she is in love with another man. Read more Bollywood: Kangana Ranaut threatens to quit Twitter and join Indian app Kangana Ranaut vs Tom Cruise? Bollywood actor continues Hollywood comparison, this time with the stunt master himself Bollywood: Swara Bhasker reminds Kangana Ranaut of ‘item song’ Ranaut earlier compared herself to Hollywood stars Meryl Streep and Gal Gadot. “Massive transformation alert. The kind of range I display as a performer no other actress on this globe has that right now, I have raw talent like Meryl Streep for layered character depictions but I can also do skilled action and glamour like Gal Gadot #Thalaivi #Dhaakad,” she had tweeted earlier in February while posting about her upcoming movie ‘Dhaakad’. The action movie is being directed by Razneesh Razy Ghai and will see Ranaut play a spy named Agni. The film also stars Arjun Rampal.

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Bollywood actress Parineeti Chopra looks back on her weight loss journey

BollyWood|: Bollywood actress Parineeti Chopra, who’s gearing up for the release of her new psychological thriller ‘The Girl on the Train’ on Netflix this weekend, is keen to erase memories of her being overweight and unhealthy. In her latest role — played effectively by Emily Blunt in its 2016 Hollywood original — Chopra plays a woman suffering from amnesia and is about how she struggles to piece together the crucial pieces of her personal life. The film is based on Paula Hawkins’ best-selling novel of the same name. “I wish I could erase the time I was hugely overweight and I am talking about my college days. I was really unhealthy and really big, and I didn’t quite see it. Today, I care about life and health so much more that I wish I could erase that chapter. I wish I could erase those photos which I see and they terrify me,” said Chopra in an interview with radio host Siddharth Kannan. In an earlier interview with Gulf News in November 2019, Chopra was searingly honest about her tendency to put on weight. “I have yo yo-ed in my weight throughout my life. I have always struggled and it goes up and down. The only secret is to balance it out with exercise and food. I work out a lot and a great metabolism is not something that I have... I have to work towards it all. Nothing has come easy,” said Chopra in that interview. Priyanka Chopra’s cousin was always a foodie and had repeatedly declared working out at gyms uninteresting. But the actress, who made her debut in 2012 with ‘Ishaaqzaade’, embarked on a lifestyle change to become fitter and healthier in December 2015. She was often shamed for her body type until she began her fat-to-fit transformation. But in December 2015, Chopra posted a string of photos revealing her new ‘fit self’. “THIS IS MY BODY and I’m proud of it! Took me 9 months to look this way. But I’m still a work in progress!! Will look better with time,” posted Chopra. Read more Parineeti Chopra: 'Nothing has come easy in life' According to several reports, she began to include protein-rich foods and cut out all artificial sweeteners from her daily life. She eats her dinner as early as 7pm and believes in incorporating vegetables and healthy carbohydrates on her plate. ‘The Girl on the Train’ will premiere on Netflix on February 26.

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Khloe Kardashian hits back at claims of ‘Photoshop’ on new pictures

HollyWood|: Reality TV star Khloe Kardashian has often been called out on social media for allegedly using face changing filters and Photoshop. After being questioned about a recent photo shoot, Kardashian has responding and explained why the images look distorted. The pictures were from a photo shoot she did for her clothing brand Good American. Kardashian, 36, can be seen posing in blue jeans and a crop top, but her fingers and feet look elongated. “HA I’m cracking up! 4a few of those GA photos, we shot on a camera lens that creates a stretching effect. The closer the object is to camera they will get elongated. So in some of my photos my feet/fingers look incredibly long. Not to worry! I still have normal size hands/fingers,” Kardashian tweeted, responding to claims that it was a Photoshop fail. “It’s just the lens guys! LOL but some of these stories are really reaching.” Comments under the Instagram post featuring the pictures ranged from confused to creeped out. “Who cleared this photoshop,” one person wrote. “The stretched-out feet are just wrong,” another comment read. “I love the brand and fit of the jeans. I strongly dislike this ad,” one person wrote. “It’s unrealistic. And just make girls think they need to do this crud to their own photos. Be real. Be you. Be authentic. We like you for you, Khloe. Not for the photoshopped version.” However, Kardashian was sure to point out there was no Photoshop involved — or surgery! “Nope I didn’t get a surgery to stretch my fingers and nope it’s not a ‘photoshop fail’. Have a great day,” she wrote. “Hope the ‘concern and confusion’ is now put to rest and we can just enjoy the photos LOL this really made me laugh today. Thanks for the giggle. No lie.”