“The Bachelor” star Peter Weber has responded to Cosmopolitan’s decision not to publish a digital cover featuring contestant Victoria Fuller after it discovered she had modeled “White Lives Matter attire” in an ad campaign.
“She’s not perfect, I’m not perfect, no one’s perfect,” Weber told HuffPost’s Leigh Blickley on Build Series Tuesday.
In Monday’s episode of “The Bachelor,” Fuller won her very own digital cover shoot with the women’s publication after it hosted a challenge in which several of the bikini-clad contestants posed for a fashion spread in Costa Rica.
But after the episode aired, Cosmopolitan’s editor-in-chief, Jessica Pels, published a letter distancing the magazine from Fuller. Pels said she knew nothing of the contestants at the time the episode was shot except for their names and “energy” in front of the camera.
“It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I found out that the woman [Fuller] I’d chosen had, in her past, modeled in an ad campaign wearing White Lives Matter attire,” Pels wrote.
As has been reported elsewhere, Pels noted that what Fuller modeled for “was actually a Marlin Lives Matter organization focused on preventing white and blue marlin from being overfished, which used ‘white lives matter’ and ‘blue lives matter’ messaging on its promotional shirts and hats.”
“In my view, the nature of the organization is neither here nor there — both phrases and the belief systems they represent are rooted in racism and therefore problematic,” Pels said. “Unequivocally, the White Lives Matter movement does not reflect the values of the Cosmo brand. We stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, and any cause that fights to end injustices for people of color.”
While the shoot made into the March print issue of the magazine and the episode of the show was already set to air, she and her team still wanted to “address the issue.”
“Ultimately what felt right was choosing not to publish the digital cover on our website or social feeds, and simply being honest with you, the audience we respect, about what happened and where we stand,” she said.
Prior to Pels’ note in Cosmopolitan, many people on social media had pointed out Fuller’s participation in the problematic shoot:
Since the episode aired, Fuller has remained quiet on the issue on her social media pages. As for Weber, he said on Build Series on Tuesday that he “can’t really speak too much on it because I don’t really know any facts about the whole situation.”
“I just recently heard about that with the cover being removed. Obviously, in that moment too, I knew nothing about that, none of us did,” he continued, without addressing the specifics of her “White Lives Matter” shoot. “All I can speak on is the time I was able to spend with Victoria throughout this experience, and I truly enjoyed my experience with her.”
Weber went on to say he feels “like [Fuller’s] a good person and she’s got a lot of endearing qualities, and I just hope people can inform their opinion on her based off what they see between the two of us and her time on the show.”
It’s unclear how much longer Fuller will appear on the show, but in a preview of Wednesday’s episode, it seems that there’s more trouble afoot.
In the clip, Weber questions why it feels like there’s a “wall” between them and flat out asks her: “Do you want to be here?” Fuller, in response, tells Weber she does, before storming off to the bathroom in tears.
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