After collaborating with contentious Black Lives Matter activist Zyanha Bryant—who was previously charged with having a hand in the expulsion of a white student due to her disputed remarks—beauty giant Dove is facing criticism and the possibility of a boycott. Some former Dove customers are outraged by the agreement and have taken to social media to vent their frustration and hatred.
The University of Virginia student activist Zyanha Bryant, 22, recently revealed on Instagram that she had joined the Dove “fat liberation” campaign as a “ambassador.” For some devoted Dove customers, her involvement in encouraging “fat acceptance” through this relationship has not gone down well.
“After hearing that Dove Beauty chose Zyanha Bryant — who ruined Morgan Bettinger’s life — for their ‘fat acceptance ambassador,’ THIS lifelong large lady and now former Dove customer tossed out the last three bars of Dove products she will ever buy,” tweeted Carole Thorpe, accompanied by a photo of three bars of Dove soap in the trash.
Elon Musk even added his voice to the dispute, calling it “messed up” in a tweet.
The event that occurred in the summer of 2020 between Bryant and Morgan Bettinger, a white University of Virginia student, is what sparked the outcry. Bryant claimed that Bettinger had been disparaging BLM demonstrators by calling them “good speed bumps.” She later acknowledged, though, that she had probably “misheard” Bettinger’s comments.
Bryant spearheaded a campaign to have Bettinger expelled from the university, and the white student was disciplined for the offensive remarks. Bettinger worries that by doing these things, she might make it more difficult for herself to get into law school.
Critics of Dove’s collaboration with Bryant contend that it equates to supporting her behavior and ignores the controversy surrounding her charges against Bettinger. “BLM activist completely ruined the life of an innocent white girl with a false accusation of racism and gets a brand deal with Dove while Morgan Bettinger was kicked out of school and now needs medication in order to sleep,” said State Freedom Caucus Network communications director Greg Price.
In response to the scandal, social media users have joined the call for a boycott and pledged to stop using Dove products. The debate highlights the difficulties brands confront when they work with controversial people or participate in advocacy efforts because their reputation and success can be greatly impacted by public opinion.
Unilever, the parent company of Dove, has not yet made a public statement regarding the agreement or the criticism it has received. While all is going on, Bryant keeps pushing for “fat liberation” as part of her partnership with the massive beauty brand, which feeds into the current discussion over her relationship with Dove.
The ramifications of Dove’s collaboration with Zyanha Bryant underscore the intricacies involved in managing the convergence of activism, advocacy, and commerce within the contemporary consumer-centric community.