Dove, a personal care brand owned by Unilever, is facing calls for boycott because of its recent partnership with activist Zyahna Bryant, according to a Newsweek report.
Bryant accused White University of Virginia student Morgan Bettinger in 2020 of making “threatening” comments about Black Lives Matter protesters after the death of George Floyd.
Bryant announced in an August Instagram post her new role as “Dove ambassador,” expressing her hope to promote “fat liberation” and praised Dove for supporting the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance.
“Fat liberation is something we should all be talking about!” Bryant said. “That’s why I am partnering with Dove, to support the work of [the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance], @flareforjustice in the Campaign for Size Freedom.”
“My belief is that we should be centering the voices and experiences of the most marginalized people and communities at all times,” she said in a video posted online.
“So when I think about what fat liberation looks like to me, I think about centering the voices of those who live in and who maneuver through spaces and institutions in a fat body.”
Dove’s partnership with Bryant angered some conservatives who noted her 2020 claims she overheard Bettinger describe BLM protesters as “good speed bumps.”
This claim was later brought into question when, according to the New York Post, Bryant conceded she might have “misheard” Bettinger.
A UVA committee determined Bettinger had posed a legitimate threat to the protesters, despite Bryant’s disavowal of her earlier statement.
On the social media platform X, previously known as Twitter, the hashtag “#BoycottDove” gained traction.
“Got it, you’re on my boycott list now!” commented X user Thore Gundi. “I’ll have to toss my Dove products and never buy them again!”
Another user referenced a past boycott against Bud Light due to its association with a transgender influencer, suggesting that Dove should face similar consequences:
“It’s time for us to give Dove the Bud Light treatment,” remarked X account holder @BasedSavannah. “#LiberateDove from our lives. Our $, our choice.”
The conflict between Bryant and Bettinger began when Bettinger unintentionally drove onto a street where BLM protesters were gathered, Newsweek reported.
“It’s a good thing that you are here because otherwise these people would have been speed bumps,” Bettinger recalled telling a dump truck driver whose truck blocked a road.
Bettinger clarified in an interview with Reason Magazine that she was praising the driver for blocking the road, which saved lives. The driver later corroborated Bettinger’s remark to local police, according to the report.
Bryant characterized the comment differently, suggesting on X that Bettinger had said the protesters would make “good speedbumps.” This led to a series of events where Bettinger was identified on social media.
The BLM activist, then a UVA student, called for Bettinger’s expulsion and filed a complaint with UVA’s Office for Equal Opportunity and Civil Rights, accusing Bettinger of racial harassment.
The office found that several of Bryant’s allegations could not be substantiated by witnesses.
Bettinger graduated from UVA, albeit with a mark on her record that she believes could affect her future law school applications.
The UVA student newspaper, The Cavalier Daily, reported Bettinger plans to sue the university for violating her constitutional rights and to clear her record.