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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 June 2018

Hijabi model steps down from L'Oreal hair campaign over tweets about Israel

The brand has said it "agrees with her decision" to step down over the 2014 tweets 

British vlogger Amena Khan has announced that she will step down from a L'Oreal Paris campaign over 2014 tweets that criticised Israel. L'Oreal Paris
British vlogger Amena Khan has announced that she will step down from a L'Oreal Paris campaign over 2014 tweets that criticised Israel. L'Oreal Paris

Last week beauty behemoth L'Oréal Paris made headlines for casting a hijabi model in one of its haircare campaigns: the move was touted as inclusive, and a world first.

"Whether or not your hair's on display doesn't affect how much you care about it," British vlogger Amena Khan said in the commercial, which was shot by British portrait photographer Rankin.

But, a week later, Khan has said she has "decided to step down from this campaign" over tweets found on her Twitter timeline written in 2014.

Khan has said she has chosen to delete the tweets, saying: "they do not represent the message of harmony that I stand for." The Telegraph reports that the tweets called Israel "an illegal state", and that one of the tweets also contained the hashtags #HopeForGaza #SaveGaza.

One tweet was directed towards Channel 4 presenter Jon Snow, and it reportedly read in full as: "Your "children of Gaza" piece was incredibly moving. Israel is a sinister state & the one who suffer most are innocent children'."

Khan's response

"I deeply regret the content of the tweets I made in 2014," she wrote in an Instagram post that detailed her decision to step down from the campaign, "and sincerely apologise for the upset and hurt that they have caused."

"I recently took part in a campaign, which excited me because it celebrated inclusivity. With deep regret I've decided to step down from this campaign because the current conversations surrounding it detract from the positive and inclusive sentiment that it set out to deliver."

A post shared by Amena (@amenaofficial) on

Whether Khan stepping down means the commercial will be edited or re-shot to no longer feature the British beauty expert hasn't been stated yet, however, at the time of publishing the commercial was still on Khan's Instagram page and the vlogger and mum was still featured on L'Oréal Paris' ambassadors page:

Amena Khan still features on the L'Oreal Paris Princes Trust ambassadors page
Amena Khan still features on the L'Oreal Paris Princes Trust ambassadors page

A spokesperson for L'Oréal Paris has said that they agree with Khan's decision to step down: "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."

Khan also appeared in a campaign for L'Oréal Paris' True Match foundations and concealers in August last year - those videos have not been taken off of an official L'Oréal YouTube channel:

There have been more than a hundred responses to Khan's tweet about stepping down:

"Why apologise for having opinions? Or speaking out against injustice?" wrote @zestyzun on Twitter.

Gal Gadot's Revlon contract

Khan's work for L'Oréal Paris isn't the only beauty ambassadorship that has led to discussions about Palestine and Israel this month - Wonder Woman star Gal Gadot's appointment as an ambassador for Revlon has also stirred up some controversy, however, there has been no suggestion that the Israeli star step down.

Last week, Amani Al Khatahtbeh, who founded the website MuslimGirl, decided to turn down a Revlon Changemaker Award after Gal Gadot became a Revlon ambassador.

A post shared by Revlon (@revlon) on

"We can't accept role models that support the oppression of women and girls in other parts of the world," Al Khatahtbeh said.

A post shared by Amani (@amani) on

Gadot, 33, performed two years of compulsory service in the Israel Defence Force in the mid-2000s, and she posed for a Maxim magazine spread in 2007 called The Chosen Ones: Israeli Defence Forces. In 2014, she posted a photo to social media with the hashtage #loveidf.

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