Dove has angered a group of social media users by partnering with a Black Lives Matter activist Zyanha Bryant to promote “fat liberation.”
Bryant has come under fire after she was accused of wrongfully getting a white student expelled from her university over a “misheard” remark.
Here are some of the reactions to the partnership:
Who is Zyanha Bryant?
Zyanha Bryant, 22, is a community organizer and student activist studying at the University of Virginia. Recently she took to her Instagram account and announced that she was a “Dove ambassador.” She spoke about how she hoped to end the stigma of being overweight.
“My belief is that we should be centering the voices and the experiences of the most marginalized people and communities at all times,” Bryant said in a video. “So when I think about what fat liberation looks like to me, I think about centering the voices of those who live in and who maneuver through spaces and institutions in a fat body.”
She captioned her video: “Fat liberation is something we should all be talking about … Tell us what Fat Liberation means to you using the hashtag #SizeFreedom and tagging @dove to share your story.”
Bryant’s work for Black Lives Matter has been praised across the country. She had been credited with getting the Robert E. Lee statue taken down in Charlottesville.
However, she has also come under fire in recent months for going to great lengths to get a white student named Morgan Bettinger suspended from campus.
The incident took place in July 2020. Bettinger mistakenly drove down a street where BLM protesters had gathered. She later told Reason magazine she saw a dump truck partially blocking the road but ignored the same and continued driving because she the road was not blocked completely. When she did find out that traffic was not being allowed on the road, she decided to park her vehicle and find out what was going on.
Bettinger got to talking with the truck driver and the two had a brief conversation as she passed by the area. “It’s a good thing that you are here because otherwise, these people would have been speed bumps,” Bettinger remembered telling the driver, trying to praise his efforts to block traffic.
The driver later corroborated Bettinger’s comments to local police.
Bryant, who heard part of the conversation, took to Twitter and said that Bettinger had claimed the protesters “would make ‘good speedbumps’”. She also included a video showing Bettinger backing down the street in her car as Bryant and other protesters follow.
“She then called the police and started crying, saying we were attacking her,” Bryant claimed.
The tweet went viral and Bettinger was soon identified by internet sleuths. After that, Bryant began demanding that school administrators expel Bettinger.
“EMAIL these UVA deans now to demand that Morgan face consequences for her actions and that UVA stop graduating racists,” she tweeted.
She also filed a complaint with the University Judiciary Committee, a student-run disciplinary system, accusing Bettinger of having threatened students’ health and safety. The committee found Bettinger guilty of making a legitimate threat against the protesters.
Bettinger eventually graduated from UVA but with a permanent mark on her record, likely disrupting her plans of getting into law school as she had dreamed.
“This whole situation has had a huge impact on my life,” she told Reason magazine. “The university has never had to answer for what their actions have done.”