A TikTok video promoting Bioré has gone viral for its reference to the Michigan State shooting.
She Found Herself Entangled in Controversy
The influencer, Cecilee Max-Brown, has experienced unimaginable challenges this year, most notably surviving a deadly school shooting earlier at Michigan State University.
Recently, she found herself entangled in controversy when an ad in partnership with a skincare brand referenced the tragic event.
The ad begins with Max-Brown opening up about the hardships she has faced, including the harrowing school shooting and the uncertainties of post-college life.
Her Excuse, “Life Has Thrown Countless Obstacles at Me”
She states, “Life has thrown countless obstacles at me this year, from a school shooting to having no idea what life is going to look like after college.
In Support of Mental Health Awareness Month, I’m partnering with Bioré Skincare to strip away the stigma of anxiety. We want you to get it all out, not only what’s in your pores but most importantly what’s on your mind too.”
Her genuine intention to support mental health awareness during this month of focus is overshadowed by her mention of the school shooting and the “terror” she endured for weeks afterward.
The shooting that she refers to occurred at the Michigan State University campus in February, resulting in the tragic loss of three students, all at the hands of a 43-year-old gunman who ultimately took his own life.
Her Intention Was “Partnering With a Brand To Spread Awareness”
The fallout from the ad’s release was intense, with an outpouring of impassioned criticism directed at both Max-Brown and Bioré, the brand associated with the ad.
In response to the backlash, Max-Brown took to TikTok to issue an apology, saying, “I am so sorry about this partnership video.
This was strictly meant to spread awareness about the struggles that I have had with anxiety since our school shooting.
This partnership was not intending to come off as the product fixing the struggles I’ve [had] since this event. Rather, partnering with a brand to spread awareness of what me and so many other students have been dealing with.”
She “Did Not Mean to Desensitize the Traumatic Event”
Max-Brown was quick to acknowledge the insensitivity of her words, stating that she “did not mean to desensitize the traumatic event” and recognizing the profound impact it has had on her life and others within the community.
“I take accountability for this and will ensure to be smarter in the future,” she pledged, displaying a sincere desire to learn from the situation and grow as an individual.
Meanwhile, Bioré, the skincare brand involved, did not remain silent amidst the controversy.
A brand spokesperson issued a statement shared on Instagram, expressing profound regret, “We lacked sensitivity around an incredible serious tragedy, and our tonality was completely inappropriate. We are so sorry.”
And Will Be More Thoughtful in the Future
The brand pledged to proceed with their mental health mission more thoughtfully in the future, acknowledging the importance of raising awareness without causing further harm or distress.
“If you were in a school shooting, you should try a Bioré pore strip,” one user sarcastically stated.
“Cannot for the life of me fathom who on the Bioré marketing team saw this and was like ‘yes, this content is exactly what we were looking for!”’, another added.
The influencer and brand’s apologies are essential steps towards accountability, demonstrating the significance of using platforms to advocate for mental health while ensuring that the approach is compassionate and respectful of the profound impact of tragic events on communities and individuals.
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Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / PeopleImages.com – Yuri A. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.