Beauty & the Beast actress Emma Watson has received a sharp backlash from her critics after she posed topless in a recent photoshoot for Vanity Fair, with many commenters accusing her of being a hypocrite.

The 26 year old star, who has used her fame as a platform to speak about feminist issues for a number of years now and is a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, posed nude for a new feature in Vanity Fair’s March edition. In the last few days, she has been called out and slammed by her critics for hypocrisy in such a stance.

Emma WatsonEmma Watson posed nude for Vanity Fair's March edition

“Emma Watson: ‘Feminism, feminism... gender wage gap... why oh why am I not taken seriously... feminism... oh, and here are my t***!’” tweeted conservative columnist Julia Hartley-Brewer.

Meanwhile, fellow pundit Giles Coren has posted and apparently taken down a tweet that said: “That dim-witted, attention-seeking hoyden doesn't just give feminists a bad name, she gives THE HUMAN RACE a bad name.”

Other people on Twitter took aim at her. “Feminist: Page three girls? Topless? Ban them! Emma Watson topless? Brave and Stunning! #doublethink #hypocrisy,” one said.

More: Emma Watson explains why she no longer takes selfies with fans

Some decided to defend the former Harry Potter star from the criticism. “Feminism is about giving women FREE CHOICE. They can cover up or expose their bodies as they want,” one tweeted, while another argued: “Yes we are still having the convo that if you are feminist you have to desexualize yourself.”

Watson has previously revealed how she has sometimes struggled to deal with the criticism that has come her way for years now. It came to a head with her #HeForShe campaign she launched in late 2014.

“It’s difficult to hear criticism from people you consider your peers and who you believe are on the same side,” she told Elle magazine. “There were a couple of days when I just didn’t want to come out from under the duvet. At first I wasn’t sure if I should allow myself to be upset by it, but then I realised I needed to give myself 24 hours to sulk, and then move forward.”

More: Even Emma Watson sulks when people keep being mean to her