Cosmopolitan has pulled a magazine cover featuring a contestant on the current season of “The Bachelor” after learning that the woman had modeled merchandise in a “White Lives Matter” apparel line.
Contestant Victoria Fuller was selected for the cover photoshoot during a “group date” in the latest episode by winning the swimsuit competition judged by Cosmopolitan Editor-in-Chief Jessica Pels, BuzzFeed News reported.
However, despite the outcome of the competition, Pels announced in a letter from the editor that Fuller will no longer appear on the cover due to her recently uncovered modeling gig.
“Unequivocally, the White Lives Matter movement does not reflect the values of the Cosmo brand,” Pels wrote. “We stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, and any cause that fights to end injustices for people of color.”
A photograph from the @wlmapparel_clothing Instagram account, which is no longer active, appears to show Fuller wearing a blue hat with the letters “WLM” on it.
Despite the leftist cries of racism, the apparel was created to promote the conservation of white and blue marlins. It also drew controversy when it was sold in Ocean City, Maryland, before the White Marlin Open fishing tournament in 2016.
“We’re promoting people to use circle hooks, to bring them in safely and to release them back,” shirt designer George Lamplugh said at the time, adding that he wasn’t trying to create controversy, USA Today reported.
“And as soon as we bring in the first black marlin, we’ll have a Black Lives Matter shirt,” he added.
ApPaReNtLy this is for white marlin conservation but I’m having a hard time believing that’s the only message these clothes are sending https://t.co/opYMqcLDaH
— rach against the machine (@rchlmllnd) January 7, 2020
Worcester County, Maryland, NAACP President Ivory Smith criticized the shirts for mockery of the Black Lives Matter movement.
“Let me be clear, all lives do matter, whether they’re white or black, cop or civilian, fish or dog,” Smith said. “However, we’re living in a time where African-Americans are suffering from a disproportionate amount of violence, and we do need to address that.”
Fuller addressed the controversy last month, indicating the “WLM” on her hat in the photo stood for “We Love Marlins,” according to Us Magazine.
“It would be nice for you to gather all the facts before jumping to bash someone,” she reportedly wrote in the comments of a Jan. 3 Instagram post by BachelorClues that showed her bio and photoshoot. “The company ‘We Love Marlins’ is in support of catching white, blue, & black marlins & releasing them back into the wild.”
Fuller added, “In regards to a sensitive topic, I come from a very diverse background & am in support of all races! Virginia Beach is a VERY large fishing town where Marlin tournaments are held every year! Glad to clear this up.”
Despite the reported fishy nature of the shirts, Pels stood by her decision to pull the cover.
“It’s been reported that what she modeled for was actually a Marlin Lives Matter organization focused on preventing white and blue marlin from being overfished, which used ‘white lives matter’ and ‘blue lives matter’ messaging on its promotional shirts and hats,” Pels wrote.
“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,” she said.
So if white lives matter and blue lives matter are “rooted in racism” it means black lives matter is too? 😮
— baseballfan2019 (@baseballfan2019) February 5, 2020
“All I can speak on is the time I was able to spend with Victoria throughout this experience,” Weber said. “And I truly enjoyed my experience with her. I really feel like she’s a good person. She’s got a lot of endearing qualities.”
He added, “She’s not perfect, I’m not perfect, no one’s perfect.”
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