L'Oreal UK's hijab-wearing model Amena steps down and apologises after discovery of anti-semitic tweets.

L’Oreal UK’s latest advert features "influencer" star Amena, along with other women across the UK. Amena wears a hijab, and her sole line in the advert is a comment on this; “Whether or not your hair is on display, it doesn’t affect how much you care about it.”
L’Oreal’s recent campaigns focus on diversity and inclusiveness, previously they featured transgender model Munroe Bergdorf. Bergdorf was fired after making disparaging comments "all white people are racist" on social media, and then defended those comments on the BBC.

The reactions to Amena have been polarised. While some are happy to see the hijab-wearing Instagram star in an ad, others question the logic of having a model not showing their hair in an ad for hair-products when even the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has no problem showing hair in ads or on TV in general, though some ads do cover hair. When majority Muslim countries such as Malaysia and the Emirates show actual hair in hair product adverts, but majority Christian countries do not, it does seem quite odd. Suffice to say Amena was scrutinized and did not take long before someone discovered that she is quite opposed to Israel. This was probably not the attention L'oreal was hoping they'd get when they included her on their diversity-influencer bingo.

Israel is a sinister state & the ones who suffer most are innocent children

Amena's official account tweeted, along with

Israel = Pharoah. Both are child murderers. Insha'Allah, defeat also awaits the former; it's only a matter of time.

in another tweet. These tweets were soon scrubbed from her account, but her shouts to free Palestine too a few more hours before they were deleted. There's no doubt where her political stance is, regarding that region of the middle east. And when you buy an influencer as a model, you are buying their entire social media history. Influencers are, and always will be risky wildcards. You'd think that by now L'Oreal would have learned their lesson.

Amena has apologised, and announced her decision to step down from the campaign. This doesn't help L'oreal much as they've already spent whatever budget on shootig and editing that ad, which is slated to run for 13 weeks. Now they have to hurry up and re-edit.

Moral of the story: when you try to be as inclusive as possible you may end up being as divisive as possible. Tread careful out there.

about the author

Dabitch Creative Director, CEO, hell-raising sweetheart and editor of Adland. Globetrotting Swede who has lived and worked in New York, London, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Stockholm.

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