French cosmetics company L’Oréal has severed ties with a soccer fan to whom it had offered a modeling contract after photos of her hunting sparked anger online.
Last week, a photo of Axelle Despiegelaere, a 17-year-old from Belgium cheering on her team on at the World Cup tournament in Brazil, went viral on Twitter, earning her the unofficial title as the “most beautiful World Cup supporter.”
When she returned to Belgium, she set up a Facebook page that quickly gained tens of thousands of followers. She became such a sensation that L’Oréal offered her a contract to star in the company’s latest social-media campaign in Belgium. She had already filmed her first “beauty tutorial” for the brand, which had received two million views as of Friday morning.
— L'OréalProfessionnel (@LorealProBeFR) July 5, 2014
The gig, however, was short-lived. When Facebook photos emerged of Despiegelaere posing with a rifle next to a dead animal on a hunting trip, L’Oréal announced it was terminating the contract.
— Aly Weisman (@AlyWeisman) July 10, 2014
“L’Oréal Professionnel Belgium collaborated with her on an ad hoc basis to produce a video for social media use in Belgium,” a L’Oréal spokesperson told the British newspaper the Independent. “The contract has now been completed.”
The caption of the Facebook photo, which shows Despiegelaere posing with an elk, reads:
Hunting is not a matter of life or death. It’s much more than that . . this was about 1 year ago . . . ready to hunt americans today haha
The last reference is to the U.S. vs. Belgium soccer game.
The L’Oréal spokesperson would not comment on whether the photos were behind the decision to cut ties with Despiegelaere, but did say that the company was aware of the photo. L’Oréal stressed to the Independent that the company “no longer tests on animals, anywhere in the world, and does not delegate this task to others.”