On Monday, Feb. 3, ABC’s “The Bachelor” aired an episode in which all the contestants and the Bachelor, Peter Weber, flew to Costa Rica. The group date included a swimsuit competition with Cosmopolitan. The ladies were tasked with modeling for a faux-photoshoot and, eventually, one lucky contestant was picked to be featured on a digital cover with the one and only “Pilot Pete.”
Fans watched on as each girl gave it her all in hopes of being featured on the cover of a widely-known magazine. The lucky winner was Victoria Fuller, who was ecstatic to win the prize.
That same night, Jessica Pels, editor-in-chief of Cosmo, announced in a letter from the editor that Cosmopolitan would be pulling the “Bachelor” cover. In her letter, published shortly after The Bachelor episode aired, she states that neither herself nor her team knew who the models were, let alone their backgrounds. She goes on to write that, at the time of choosing who would be winning the digital cover of Cosmo, she only knew their first names and “the energy they conveyed.”
The letter the discloses that Fuller had previously modeled for an ad campaign believed to be related to the White Lives Matter movement. However, it was later reported that the campaign was actually for an organization that helped focus on preventing marlin from being overfished, called “Marlin Lives Matter,” which used White Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter aesthetic for promotional purposes.
“The White Lives Matter movement does not reflect the values of the Cosmo brand. We stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, and any cause that fights to end injustices for people of color,” Pels wrote.
Pels ends the letter saying that the decision was not one that came easily but that it was ultimately the right choice.
This news came as a shock to many who saw Fuller as a shy, out-of-the-spotlight contestant. Social media users flooded her recent Instagram photos with “BLM” comments. Users also commented that they were “disappointed” and “surprised” and wish she would address the situation.
“Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, so Victoria F. can wear whatever she wants. But, also Cosmopolitan does reserve the right to put whoever they want on their cover,” Victoria Asland, a freshman at the University of Miami, said of the situation. “They are a business, so it makes sense they might pull a cover of someone who has done something in the past that doesn’t align with their values.”
Another student, a freshman who wishes to remain anonymous, commented “It really does not bother me because it was in the past, and she probably had a valid reason for why she did what she did. Also, the reason she was wearing those clothes was not to advocate for White Lives Matter, but for something else.”
But not everyone agrees with that sentiment.
“I am very disappointed to see someone who would stand for something that does not support Black Lives Matter,” added another freshman, also wished to remain anonymous. “But, I did not take Victoria to be someone who supports White Lives Matter.”
At this time, Fuller has not commented on the controversy.
Weber, however, did participate in an interview with People Magazine.
“It’s definitely been tough to see this unfold,” he said. “To be honest I’m learning about all of this in real time just like everybody else is. At this point right now, I see a lot of headlines about my response, and my support has been taken out of context. I, in no way, support that kind of campaign.”