British model Amena Khan, who had been chosen by L’Oreal to feature in their latest shampoo ad campaign, has stepped down from her role after tweets emerged of her criticising Israel’s brutality against the Palestinians.
Just days into her role, Khan announced yesterday that she would be leaving the beauty brand after right-wing media outlets published her tweets from 2014, in which she condemned the Israeli bombardment of Gaza.
Amena Khan was chosen by @LOrealParisUK to model for the company’s newest hair product campaign. However, a search of Khan’s Twitter account raises questions about the appropriateness of making her the face of the new campaign. Khan frequently espouses anti-Israel views. pic.twitter.com/ynMQ7dfjXJ
— Aisha Murtad (@UmmAlMumineen) January 19, 2018
In her tweets, Khan called Israel “a sinister state” and drew attention to its activities being illegal under international law. She refuted claims of being anti-Semitic and cited how Christian, Jews and Muslims had lived in peace in the city throughout history. In others, she also praised South American government who condemned Israel’s actions in Gaza and criticised Egypt for refusing to open the Rafah border.
In a statement yesterday, Khan apologised for her comments, saying she did not mean to cause offense and “deeply regrets the contents of the tweets”.
— Amena (@amenaofficial) January 22, 2018
“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 said in a statement.
A L’Oreal spokesperson told the Jerusalem Post that the company agreed with Khan’s decision to step down.
Both L’Oreal and Khan have come under criticism on social media for portraying condemnation of Israel as racist or anti-Semitic.
Founder of lifestyle webiste MuslimGirl Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, also criticised the move, questioning why Israeli actress Gal Gadot, an ambassador for makeup house Revlon, had not been similarly censured for her views.
“We have to ask why it’s OK for us to have spokeswomen like @galgadot for @revlon, who use their platform to express support for Israel’s military against Palestinian women, while we take down spokeswomen like Amena for their vocal support of Palestinian women, children and people,” she wrote on Twitter.
Last week, Al-Khatahtbeh turned down a Changemaker Award from Revlon, saying that she could not accept the accolade that “with Gal Gadot as the ambassador.” She said Gadot’s “vocal support of the Israeli Defense Forces’ actions in Palestine goes against MuslimGirl.com’s morals and values.”