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The Modern Family star shared what was intended to be a funny post with side-by-side images of herself and Ratajkowski wearing very similar dresses over 10 years apart.
In the lefthand photo, Hyland wore a plunging black dress with cut-outs around the chest circa 2007, when she would have been about 17 years old. The righthand photo showed Ratajkowski, 28, wearing a very similar dress to the Tony Awards on Sunday.
"The sister hood of the traveling Tony dress," Hyland, 28, captioned the photo on her Instagram account. "Spotted on Sarah Hyland in 2007. @emrata Spotted in 2019 wearing it 100000% BETTER."
But fans started making criticizing comments and comparing the two women. "Disagreed, you looked classier," one user wrote.
"I think it lost some fabric along the way," someone else said.
After noticing, Hyland made an edit to her caption, writing, “I can’t believe I’m editing this. I’m NOT comparing. This is supposed to be a funny post. PLEASE do NOT say anything rude about ‘who looks better’ It’s not even the same dress.”
Plenty of Hyland's followers lamented the fact she had to make an edit.
"The second edited caption is a prime example of not being able to joke in 2019," one Instagram user wrote.
"Welcome to 2019 where we have to explain our jokes ohhh what a time to be alive," another said.
"The fact that u have to explain the whole joke of this picture shows how f—ed up people can be..anywayssss i laughed lol," someone else wrote.
"Omg Sarah, this is 2019, you can’t just go around making jokes on the internet," another quipped.
As for Ratajkowski, she seemed unfazed by the comments, leaving three heart emojis and writing, "You look amazing."
Hyland has defended herself from social media trolls before; in February, she clapped back at critics of the Spanx she wore to the Vanity Fair Oscars party beneath her hot pink Zac Posen gown.
"#funfact I'm wearing TWO pairs of Spanx. Why diet? When you can just hide it!" she captioned a photo from the night.
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"As a (thin) person with influence your caption is problematic," one user commented, as noted by Us Weekly. "You're suggesting that women should EITHER diet or hide. How about NEITHER."
Someone else commented, "Most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. She doesn't have an ounce of fat she's just so annoying lol."0comments
But Hyland hit back at critics in a since-deleted tweet, writing, "When you have two kidney transplants and are on steroids for life get back to me,” which followed a retweet she shared from someone else who had a kidney transplant who understood why she was wearing two pairs of Spanx.
"If you're trying to hide the bump from your transplant, forget it. I've been trying for years!!" the Twitter user wrote. "Someone gets it!!" Hyland said.
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