British actor and feminist icon Emma Watson has found herself in hot water after an old print campaign she did for beauty company Lancome resurfaced in the British press this week. The ad – allegedly from 2011 – uses Watson’s image to advertise a skin whitening product.
Watson has come under attack from fans who claim the actress is suggesting that white skin is the beauty ideal.
The issue came to light after Noami Mabita wrote an essay on the subject on feminist website Gal-Dem.
Mabita wrote: “Do an image search of ad campaigns and you’ll quickly out find how widespread this practice of equating facial perfection to ‘whiteness’ is. Emma Watson, forever paraded in the media as a white feminist icon, is the face of Lancôme’s ‘Blanc Expert’ which contains disruptive ingredients intended to whiten the skin.”
A spokesperson for Watson told the UK’s The Independent that the actor was unaware that her image had been used to advertise the product.
“Many artists often have limited control of how their image is used once an endorsement contract is signed,” the spokesperson said. “I cannot comment on my client’s previous contractual arrangements with Lancome. However, my client no longer participates in advertising beauty products which do not always reflect the diverse beauty of women.”