Amena Khan, the first hijab-wearing model to land a major hair campaign with L’Oréal Paris, has stepped down from her role following a string of anti-Israel tweets published on her official Twitter account in 2014. The news comes just days after she joined Jennifer Lopez and Karlie Kloss as part of the L’Oréal family.
The UK blogger shared a statement on her social media accounts stating that she “deeply regrets” the hurt she caused by her comments. “I deeply regret the content of the tweets I made in 2014, and sincerely apologise for the upset and hurt that they have caused,” she wrote. “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.”
She continued to say that because the tweets are “detracting from the positive and inclusive sentiment” the ads aimed to embrace, she is pulling out from the Elvive multimedia campaign.
Though the tweets have since been deleted, they have resurfaced in screenshots on Twitter.
A spokesperson for L’Oréal Paris gave a statement to BBC: “We have recently been made aware of a series of tweets posted in 2014 by Amena Khan, who was featured in a UK advertising campaign.
“We appreciate that Amena has since apologised 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.”
Last week the news was announced that she would be the first ever hijab-wearing woman to front a L’Oréal campaign – a groundbreaking move on the beauty giant’s part. She starred in the L’Oréal Paris Elvive World of Care Campaign. She felt that taking part would promote an important message. “How many brands are doing things like this? Not many. They’re literally putting a girl in a headscarf – whose hair you can’t see – in a hair campaign. Because what they’re really valuing through the campaign is the voices that we have,” she told Vogue. On Instagram, she went on to write that she was “so excited and incredibly proud” of her new role.
Khan isn’t the first beauty blogger to experience backlash over unearthed tweets. Last year, James Charles, the first ever male ambassador of CoverGirl, came under fire after users combed through five years’ worth of his tweets to discover he had made offensive, mocking comments about minorities on more than one occasion when he was 13 years old. Charles, who is now 18, is still a spokesperson for the beauty brand.
Shortly after, L’Oréal ended its partnership with model Munroe Bergdorf over offensive comments she posted on Facebook after the violence in Charlottesville, US.
Vogue Arabia has reached out to Amena Khan for further comment and is awaiting a response.