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Controversy: L'Oréal Paris’ First Hijabi Model in a Hair Campaign Steps Down

Amena Khan

Only a matter of days ago, Amena Khan made major global headlines for being the first hijab-wearing model to be hired by a L’Oreal Paris to feature in their latest hair-care campaign.

Yesterday, she announced that she had stepped down.

In a statement posted to Instagram yesterday she wrote:
"I deeply regret the contents of the tweets I made in 2014, and sincerely apologize for the upset and hurt they have caused. 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 I stand for.

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


Une publication partagée par Amena (@amenaofficial) le

Khan had been selected to be part of the hair care campaign alongside 15 other influential personalities. Well known on social media and with over 400k subscribers on YouTube plus 600k on Instagram, Amena’s videos and social media posts generally feature a focus on beauty, makeup, lifestyle and her personal life.

While Amena didn’t specify which particular tweets had caused the controversy, it is no doubt that they related to her criticisms of Israel in July 2014. The tweets were picked up by critics on Twitter after Amena’s name began circulating in the media in relation to the new campaign.

The tweets and screenshots were highlighted by far-right media outlets in the U.S., including the Daily Caller.

However, L'Oreal, too, was criticized by the BDS Movement for its "extensive involvement in business relations with Israel" in 2008.

Some of Khan’s followers on Instagram were dismayed by the decision and urged for her to not step down. Her followers commented:

"Please don’t step down. You truly deserve this campaign. The past is the past, whatever tweets those were, that was 4 years ago. Every day people change, can you imagine the change that happens over period of 4 years. Please please please don’t step down.”

"If @lorealmakeup @lorealhair @lorealpro are making you step down over some tweets made back in 2014 is absolutely pathetic. I was just thinking how L’Oréal has done one good thing hiring you! One company I was starting to like because they were different to others!"

Amena Khan also got some support for her decision.

One person posted on Amena Khan's statement: "As someone who was truly hurt by discovering these tweets I am grateful that you both addressed them and apologized. Everyone makes mistakes and misinformation can lead to so many of them. While I don’t think stepping down is required, I do respect it x." would love to hear your thoughts on the controversial series of events – please let us know what you think in our comments section below.

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