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Hijabi model leaves L’Oréal campaign after right-wing site digs up tweets

Amena Khan would have been the first hijab-wearing model in a mainstream hair campaign but The Daily Caller (US conservative site) ‘outed’ her support for Palestine

Here we go again, a brand is back with that classic two-in-one: a game-changing, diverse campaign and a real distaste for political opinion. Beauty blogger Amena Khan was set to be the first hijab-wearing model to appear in a mainstream hair care campaign after L’Oréal announced her appointment just four days ago. She described the role as “game-changing.”

However, she has now announced via Instagram that she will be stepping down from the campaign after tweets of hers from 2014 (a long time ago!) directed at David Cameron (go girl!), which expressed an “anti-Israel” sentiment, were uncovered by right-wing US site, The Daily Caller. The tweets, which now appear to have been deleted, said things to David Cameron like:

“You’re complicit in the supplying of weapons to a terrorist state. You offered ‘staunch support’ of genocide.”

In her Instagram post, she clarified her decision to remove the tweets was because “they do not represent the message of harmony that I stand for”.

It continued: “I deeply regret the content of the tweets I made in 2014 and sincerely apologise for the upset and hurt that they have caused.”

A L’Oréal Paris spokesperson told the BBC: “We appreciate that Amena has since apologized for the content of these tweets and the offence they have caused. L’Oréal Paris is committed to tolerance and respect towards all people. We agree with her decision to step down from the campaign.”

This scenario echoes the treatment and dismissal of L’Oréal’s first transgender model, Munroe Bergdorf, who was billed to be one of the new faces of the company’s diversity initiative.

The Daily Mail (another right-wing site) scoured the activist’s social media accounts, and found a Facebook post in which she discussed the Charlottesville protests to vent her anger around the circumstances that led to one person being killed and many others severely injured.

She wrote: “Honestly I don’t have energy to talk about the racial violence of white people any more. Yes ALL white people...Because most of ya’ll don’t even realise or refuse to acknowledge that your existence, privilege and success as a race is built on the backs, blood and death of people of colour”. The morning after the report, L’Oréal publicly announced that Bergdorf would no longer be a part of the campaign.

It’s an eerily identical pattern to what happened with Munroe – minority model is delighted to participate in beauty campaign, right-wing journalists can’t stand it and scour the internt for dirt, brand bows to pressure. Everyone has had opinions, many of us have political ones and we’re a civilisation that’s dumb enough to archive every single thought we have.

Anyway, for more on why we stand with Munroe, read this look into how the beauty industry treats diversity as disposable, from Shon Faye and Kuchenga Shenje.