Just days ago it was announced hijab-wearing model and blogger Amena Khan would star in L’oreal Paris’s new Elvive multimedia campaign. In an age when one questions whether the beauty industry is doing enough for diversity – a Muslim woman wearing a headscarf starring in a mainstream haircare campaign is, undoubtedly, a huge step forward.
But the British influencer reveals she has resigned, after right-wing media outlets unearthed past tweets in which she criticised Israel’s war in Gaza.
“I deeply regret the content of the tweets I made in 2014,” she says. “Championing diversity is one of my passions, I don’t discriminate against anyone. I have chosen to delete them as they do not represent the message of harmony that I stand for.”
A spokesperson for L’Oreal Paris said: “We have recently been made aware of a series of tweets posted in 2014 by Amena Kahn, who was featured in a UK advertising campaign.We appreciate that Amena has since apologized for the content of these tweets and the offense they have caused. L’Oreal Paris is committed to tolerance and respect towards all people. We agree with her decision to step down from the campaign.”
Commenters have flooded Khan’s post, questioning why she should have to apologize for her views or step down at all. They’ve also drawn comparisons to top model Bella Hadid, whose not received a similar backlash for her open support of Palestine.
Some brands claim to be promoters of diversity. But when they throw the actual diverse faces of their campaigns under the bus as soon as these same representatives demonstrate an understanding of — or, even worse, an emotional connection to and passionate opinion on — the issues that affect them and their communities, any doubt that these brands were doing anything other than cashing in on someone else’s struggle is cast away.