An advertisement for Bioré pore strips — a go-to for drugstore beauty shoppers — is fueling TikTok’s latest controversy.
Last week, influencer Cecilee Max-Brown posted a TikTok sponsored by Bioré, which began rolling out a Mental Health Awareness Month campaign in early May. In the video, Max-Brown discusses struggling with anxiety in the aftermath of the shooting at Michigan State University, where a gunman killed three students and injured five others in February.
Max-Brown, who recently graduated from MSU, goes on to announce her decision to partner with Bioré – a skincare brand owned by Japanese cosmetics company Kao Corporation — to “strip away the stigma of anxiety.” After presenting viewers with a box of Bioré pore strips, she encourages viewers to “get it all out — not only what’s in your pores, but most importantly what’s on your mind, too.”
To many, the quippy slogan trivialized the gravity of Max-Brown’s first-hand brush with gun violence. Critics’ concerns are understandable — after all, the advertisement uses a school shooting survivor’s trauma to peddle a beauty product.
On Sunday, Bioré apologized for the video. “For the past 4 years, we have supported mental health alliances, working with social media influencers who experience anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions to amplify their authentic, unscripted stories in an effort to help reduce the stigma that surrounds mental health,” a statement posted to the
“This time, however, we did it the wrong way. We lacked sensitivity around an incredibly serious tragedy, and our tonality was completely inappropriate. We are so sorry.”
Unsurprisingly, netizens are questioning how Max-Brown’s video was approved in the first place. A spokesperson for Bioré told
Max-Brown, who has since deleted the video, issued
Offensive, yes, but Bioré’s fumble isn’t completely surprising. For years, beauty brands have positioned their products as a
As writer Jessica DeFino told Highsnobiety during