Cosmopolitan pulls Bachelor contestant's cover over her 'problematic' past: 'The stakes were high'
Cosmopolitan magazine has announced it will not publish a "Bachelor"-themed cover after discovering one of the show’s contestant’s "problematic" past.
The controversy began several weeks ago when Victoria Fuller — one of the women currently vying for Bachelor Peter Weber’s heart — faced backlash after social media users uncovered photos of her modeling for a clothing line that featured "White Lives Matter" merchandise.
The photoshoot was reportedly for Maryland’s White Marlin Marina, a Maryland-based organization that has previously come under fire for using the racially charged phrase to promote ocean conservation. Many fans said Fuller should have known better, as the marina has also promoted shirts bearing the Confederate flag.
Regardless of Fuller’s intention, the decision led Cosmopolitan to pull the next cover of its digital issue, People reported. The 25-year-old was set to appear on the front of the edition after winning a competition during the show’s Feb. 4 episode.
"Unequivocally, the White Lives Matter movement does not reflect the values of the Cosmo brand," Jessica Pels, the magazine’s editor-in-chief, wrote in an open letter following the episode’s airing. "We stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, and any cause that fights to end injustices for people of color."
Pels' letter explains that she was unaware of any of the contestant’s identifies — or personal histories — when she flew to Costa Rica to film the "Bachelor" segment. The episode, in which the editor chose Fuller as the winner of a fashion "challenge," was shot in October 2019, according to the Tico Times.
"So when 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," Pels wrote. "The stakes were high all around!"
"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."
Pels added that she and her team had "long discussions" about how to handle the issue, ultimately deciding to not publish the digital cover online or to its social media channels.
"In my view, the nature of the organization is neither here nor there — [the] phrases and the belief systems they represent are rooted in racism and therefore problematic," Pels wrote.
Fuller, originally from Virginia Beach, Va., has been wrapped in controversy throughout her time on the show. Before the season’s airing, Reality Steve reported that she had a "horrible reputation" in her hometown for getting involved with married men.
Additionally, a Jan. 29 episode of "The Bachelor," implied that Fuller had previously dated country musician Chase Rice, a claim the 34-year-old has denied.
"We spent a night together in Charlotte, she’s a cool chick, from what I know of her," Rice told the Fitz in the Morning radio show. "You know, I got no problem with her. I got no problem with [Peter Weber]."