Dove is facing backlash, including from X owner Elon Musk, after it was revealed that the company was partnering in a “fat liberation” campaign with a Black Lives Matter Activist accused of wrecking a white female student’s life with uncorroborated accusations.
Zyahna Bryant, who celebrated on Instagram last week she was a Dove ambassador and spoke of “fat liberation,” accused fellow University of Virginia student Morgan Bettinger — a first-generation college student and the daughter of a police officer who had died six years before — of saying that George Floyd protesters would make “good speed bumps” at a 2020 Charlottesville rally. Bryant later admitted she might not have heard the remarks at all, according to a report.
Responding to a tweet stating, “Zyahna Bryant ruined a white girl’s life over a non-existent remark. Dove just did a brand partnership with her to support ‘fat liberation,” Musk tweeted bluntly, “Messed up.”
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 14, 2023
Other social media users chimed in, as The Daily Mail reported. Sample comments included these:
“After hearing that Dove Beauty chose Zyahna Bryant — who ruined Morgan Bettinger’s life — for their ‘fat acceptance ambassador,’ THIS lifelong large lady & now former Dove customer tossed out the last three bars of Dove product she will EVER buy. I have written to Unilever too.”
“@Dove. Do you want to get @budlight bud lighted? Because, this is how you get bud lighted.”
“Shame on Dove, never bought the product anyway. There goes their reputation!”
“Guess I’ve bought my last bar of Dove soap.”
“I’ve stopped buying their products. Never again!”
“I’ll have to toss my Dove products and never buy them again!”
Bettinger was accused by Bryant and others of making threatening remarks about George Floyd protesters in Charlottesville in 2020.
“The woman in this truck approached protesters in #Charlottesville, and told us that we would make ‘good speedbumps,’” Bryant, then 19, wrote of Bettinger. “She then called the police and started crying saying we were attacking her.” Bryant followed with a series of videos, but they did not show the alleged remarks, as Reason noted in a detailed article on the incident.
The group that organized the protest, Charlottesville Beyond Policing, followed by writing on Medium:
… this rally and march was disturbed by a UVA student, Morgan Bettinger. Morgan drove around the public works truck blocking the street that demonstrators were convened on, and felt compelled to say, not just once, but twice, that protesters would “make good speed bumps.” The second time she repeated it loudly to a Black protester and added “good f***ing speed bumps.”
The story was amplified by local media with Bryant starting a campaign demanding Bettinger’s expulsion.
An inquiry by professional investigators at the university’s Office for Equal Opportunity and Civil Rights (EOCR) found that three of Bryant’s four allegations that she said happened before a large crowd could not be corroborated by other witnesses, Reason reported, and the fourth, that Bettinger yelled protesters would make “good speed bumps,” had one witness claiming it happened, but that witness contradicted Bryant and herself when interviewed. Additionally, Bryant later altered her story on that claim, acknowledging she wasn’t certain she heard Bettinger make that statement at all, according to a report from the EOCR.