Victoria Fuller might have won the Cosmopolitan photo shoot challenge on The Bachelor Monday night, but don’t look for her digital cover any time soon. As hardcore Bachelor Nation devotees who follow the franchise’s on- and off-screen drama have likely already surmised, it seems a previous modeling gig lost Victoria her cover—specifically, the time she did a shoot for a fish conservation movement that used the slogan “White Lives Matter.”
No, we are not making this up. Fans first discovered the old photo in January. Fuller can be seen wearing a “White Lives Matter” hat, while another image features a T-shirt emblazoned with a Confederate flag—in which the stars have been replaced with fish. The creator of the “White Lives Matter” logo in the Victoria F. photo, George Lamplugh, has said he had no intention of stirring controversy with the image. But making light of the racial issues that led to the Black Lives Matter movement—even in the name of a noble cause like Marlin conservation—does, indeed, seem pretty racist.
In a letter published Monday, Cosmopolitan editor-in-chief Jessica Pels wrote, “[W]hen it came time for me to choose the winner of the challenge—whose prize was a digital cover of Cosmo—all I knew about the contestants were their first names and the energy they conveyed through the camera lens. 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.”
“It’s been reported that what she modeled for was actually a Marlin Lives Matter organization focused on preventing white and blue marlin from being overfished, which used ‘white lives matter’ and ‘blue lives matter’ messaging on its promotional shirts and hats,” Pels continued. “In my view, the nature of the organization is neither here nor there—both phrases and the belief systems they represent are rooted in racism and therefore problematic.”
Pels noted that the March issue already printed with an inset of Victoria’s cover—but the digital cover, she said, will go unpublished. ABC/Warner Bros. did not immediately respond to a request for comment.