Emma Watson Addresses Concerns That She Promoted Skin Lightening

photo by Frederick M. Brown / Getty Images

The U.N. Ambassador’s rep responds

UPDATE (3/31/2016): Emma Watson's representative reached out with a complete statement: "Many artists often have limited control of how their image is used once an endorsement contract is signed. I cannot comment on my client's previous contractual arrangements with Lancôme. However my client no longer participates in advertising beauty products, which do not always reflect the diverse beauty of all women.”

This story was originally published on 3/30/2016.

Yesterday, a 2013 Lancôme advertisement starring Emma Watson began to recirculate around the Internet. The products it endorsed, the brand's Blanc Expert line, is one of many "whitening" beauty lines that caters to the Asian market. As we have said before, whitening products cater to traditional Eastern beauty norms that believe that lighter skin is indicative of higher social ranking, as those in higher classes historically didn't need to perform manual labor in the sun.

While the history of these products is complex, the present-day implications of these items are even more intricate, especially in regard to the word "whitening," which doesn't fully explain that these products are used as brightening tools to even out skin tone. Still, the word "whitening" is triggering—and rightfully so. To see a U.N. Ambassador and activist like Emma Watson participating in a campaign endorsing these types of products is upsetting, and, as such, Internet-goers voiced their opinions and disappointment.

While Watson has yet to post any explanation on her social channels, her representative has issued a statement on her behalf. "I cannot comment on my client's previous contractual arrangements with Lancôme," they wrote. "However, my client no longer participates in advertising beauty products, which do not always reflect the diverse beauty of all women."

Lancôme also responded, in a statement to Refinery 29: "Blanc Expert was created by Lancôme 20 years ago. It helps brighten, even skin tone, and provides a healthy-looking complexion. This kind of product, proposed by every brand, is an essential part of Asian women's beauty routines."

As tends to be the case with most public statements, especially those with contractual implications, both are vague and brief. We hope to hear more from Watson about whether she had any reservations about the line at the time of the shoot, and what she thinks about brightening products and their place in today's beauty routines. 

Photo by Frank Micelotta/Picturegroup/Shutterstock.

The list is in

The 2019 MTV Video Music Awards nominations are in. Seasoned pop stars Ariana Grande and Taylor Swift are naturally leading this year's nomination pool with 10 nods each, and going head-to-head in multiple categories, including Video and Song of the Year. Billie Eilish, who isn't as seasoned but has built up a sturdy (and beloved) body of work, is right behind with nine nominations this year.

Keep reading... Show less
Photo via Broadimage/Shutterstock

He has been accused of soliciting nudes from models and touching them while naked

UPDATE 7/23/2019 4:39pm: Kim Kardashian has apparently responded to the allegations against Hyde, though she does not name him, in a post to her Instagram stories. She writes that though she never had a bad experience with him. "I stand in full support of every woman's right to not be harassed, asked or pressured they are not comfortable with," she writes. "We cannot allow this type of behavior to go unnoticed and I applaud those who speak out."

Screenshot via @KimKardashian Instagram

Fashion watchdog Diet Prada has published multiple allegations from models claiming that celebrity photographer Marcus Hyde pressured them into shooting nude photos. Amidst the allegations, Ariana Grande, who has previously worked with Hyde, has published a response, denouncing this kind of behavior by photographers.

Keep reading... Show less
Photo by Chelsea Lauren/Shutterstock

She should!

Megan Thee Stallion, aka Hot Girl Meg, is in the process of trademarking "Hot Girl Summer," and it's about time. The term, coined by Meg, has recently been co-opted by brands looking to capitalize on the singular good thing on the internet.

Keep reading... Show less
Asset 7
Photos via Universal Standard

A win for your wardrobe and reproductive health care

Starting today, you can give your wardrobe a major upgrade from Universal Standard at a deep discount and simultaneously give back to a good cause. The ultra-inclusive brand is hosting its first-ever sample sale online now, with all your favorite silhouettes at up to 75 percent off, and donating 50 percent of profits from the purchases to Planned Parenthood.

Keep reading... Show less
Photo courtesy of Glen Wilson/ Focus Features

Cynthia Erivo captures the power and bravery of Harriet Tubman, a true hero

Focus Features has dropped the first trailer for Harriet, the film documenting the life and legacy of Harriet Tubman. Just try not to get chills watching Cynthia Erivo as Tubman, whose bravery, strength, and brilliance are on full display here, as we see her navigate a treacherous world, and bring herself and countless others to freedom.

Keep reading... Show less