Cosmopolitan Pulled A "Bachelor" Contestant's Cover Because She Modeled "White Lives Matter" Merchandise
"Unequivocally, the White Lives Matter movement does not reflect the values of the Cosmo brand," said Cosmopolitan Editor-in-Chief Jessica Pels.
A cover of Cosmopolitan magazine featuring a contestant from The Bachelor has been pulled over revelations that she previously modeled "White Lives Matter" merchandise.
Victoria Fuller, a 26-year-old medical sales representative from Virginia Beach, had won her spot on the magazine cover during a "group date" challenge in the latest episode.
The challenge — a swimsuit photo shoot alongside the titular bachelor, Peter Weber — was judged by Cosmopolitan Editor-in-Chief Jessica Pels, who said the winner would appear on a digital cover of the magazine in March.
Despite winning the competition, Fuller will not appear on the cover due to her uncovered history of modeling "White Lives Matter" attire, Pels announced in a letter from the editor on Monday.
An image of Fuller modeling the racist attire made waves when it was circulated widely among Bachelor fans in January.
In the photo, Fuller wears a hat with the initials "WLM" emblazoned across it. The brand also sold clothing that featured Confederate flags and T-shirts that said "White Lives Matter" and "Blue Lives Matter."
The items were reportedly intended to promote the conservation of white and blue marlin, and a similar one drew controversy in 2016 after being sold in Ocean City, Maryland.
The brand's Instagram account, @wlmapparel_clothing, is no longer active.
In her letter, Pels said the company's fish conservation efforts didn't matter if it was also giving a tongue-in-cheek endorsement of a racist ideology.
"In my view, the nature of the organization is neither here nor there — both phrases and the belief systems they represent are rooted in racism and therefore problematic," Pels wrote.
"White Lives Matter" has been dubbed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as "a racist response to the civil rights movement Black Lives Matter" and "a neo-Nazi group that is growing into a movement as more and more white supremacist groups take up its slogans and tactics." The phrase has become a well-known rallying cry for a variety of white supremacist hate groups.
"Unequivocally, the White Lives Matter movement does not reflect the values of the Cosmo brand," Pels said. "We stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, and any cause that fights to end injustices for people of color."
Representatives for Fuller and The Bachelor could not be immediately reached for comment.
But this season's bachelor himself, Peter Weber, addressed the situation Tuesday in an interview with the Huffington Post. Weber said he too hadn't been aware of the photos, but based on the time he spent with Fuller for the show, he believed she was a good person.
"She’s not perfect, I’m not perfect, no one’s perfect,” he told the Huffington Post.
This is not the first time Bachelor fans have uncovered a history of racist behavior from the show's contestants.
In 2018, Garrett Yrigoyen, who wound up winning The Bachelorette, came under fire for liking Instagram posts that mocked trans people, made light of violence against undocumented immigrants, and touted a conspiracy theory that Parkland school shooting survivor David Hogg was a crisis actor.
And in 2017 — on the first Bachelorette season starring a black women — contestant Lee Garrett was found to have posted a slew of offensive tweets, including one that equated the NAACP with the Ku Klux Klan.