Why 'Cosmo' Pulled Victoria F's Cover

Well, that was a short-lived success. Last night on The Bachelor, one of the group dates involved having the girls model a fashion feature for Cosmo. You know, because what better way to detract from criticism that this show is made up of nothing but aspiring Instagram models than to have all their group dates be modeling challenges? At this point, let’s just change the name of the show to America’s Next Top Revolve Influencer. Anyway, Victoria F impressed the Editor-in-Chief of Cosmo so much with her makeout session modeling technique that she won the challenge. Her prize? Her photo with Peter would be on the cover of Cosmo. Which I have to say, would definitely be weird if she doesn’t end up winning. Like, deleting all traces from your ex from Instagram is hard enough—now imagine if those pictures were on the cover of a major magazine? Not to mention, the winner and his final pick usually get a PEOPLE cover, and I don’t know about you, but I would kinda take Cosmo. Bad sex tips and all, they’re less closely related to a tabloid that’s stocked on your average grocery store checkout counter. But it doesn’t really matter, because last night Cosmo announced they would not be publishing Victoria F’s cover in their digital issue or on their social media feeds.

Cosmo wasted literally no time in releasing a statement announcing their decision to pull Victoria F’s cover, releasing it at 9:17pm. That basically means that they waited until the precise minute the group date challenge was over on ABC to publish their announcement, and honestly, I respect the exacting degree of pettiness. They made this choice in response to news that Victoria F had modeled for a “White Lives Matter” clothing line. The company also has garments with the Confederate flag on it.

Editor-in-Chief Jessica Pels explained that when they devised and shot the challenge, they didn’t know who any of the contestants were and didn’t know about any of their pasts. Pels writes, “It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I found out that the woman I’d chosen had, in her past, modeled in an ad campaign wearing White Lives Matter attire.” She states, “Unequivocally, the White Lives Matter movement does not reflect the values of the Cosmo brand. We stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, and any cause that fights to end injustices for people of color.”

Surely, there will be people (like the people who responded in the above Twitter thread) who will say sh*t like, “you idiots, this is obviously referring to white and blue Marlins”, which obviously misses the point. The problem, which I feel like I’m on crazy pills for even needing to state it explicitly, is that printing White Lives Matter on apparel only works because it’s a pun. And the reason it could even be a pun is because of the Black Lives Matter movement, and because of subsequent backlash to that movement. In short, the puns only work because of people who don’t believe that black people are killed by police at disproportionate rates and with little accountability, who think that asserting the humanity of a minority somehow diminishes the humanity of the majority. Similarly, even if you were the biggest Marlin lover in the world, you probably wouldn’t buy these shirts unless you also agreed with White Lives Matter or Blue Lives Matter as they relate to humans. Coupled with the fact that the company also has apparel with the Confederate flag, and it’s not hard to figure out who their target audience is. In short, this company knew exactly what they were doing when they made these shirts, and so does anyone who buys them. Y’all are not cute or slick for trying to claim it’s not problematic on a technicality.

Victoria F’s cover will still be available in print issues, because it was printed before Cosmo learned about the controversy. And, Cosmo only pulled Victoria F’s cover in the digital issue; she still appears in their online feature entitled “We Spent An Entire Day In Costa Rica With A Shirtless Peter Weber”. Which is kind of a weird choice, in my opinion—they could have easily chosen to not publish the one photo of her if they take such an issue with her past.

Victoria F hasn’t responded to this controversy, or really any controversy about her (and there has been quite a lot), but I have a feeling that the second she gets eliminated she’s going to go on a huge image rehabilitation tour. At least, that’s what I’m hoping for, because it will give me enough content to propel me into 2021.

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Sara Levine
Sara Levine
Sara cares about a few things, including cheese, cheap white wine (never chardonnay), and the Real Housewives of Potomac. She co-hosts Betches' Not Another True Crime Podcast and posts her tweets to Instagram.