Beauty giant Dove has teamed up with a Black Lives Matter activist to promote “fat liberation” after she was accused of wrongly getting a white student expelled from her university over a “mistaken” remark .
Zyanha Bryant, a community organizer and student activist studying at the University of Virginia, announced on her Instagram page in late August that she was a “Dove Ambassador” as she discussed her goal of ending the stigma of obesity finish.
“I believe that we should center the voices and experiences of the most marginalized people and communities at all times,” Bryant, 22, said in a video.
“So when I think about what fat liberation looks like for me, I think about centering the voices of those who live in a fat body and maneuver through spaces and institutions.”
She captioned her video, “Fat liberation is something we should all be talking about… Tell us what fat liberation means to you by using the hashtag #SizeFreedom and tagging @dove to share your story.”
But while Bryant has been praised for her work with Black Lives Matter and the dismantling of the Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville, she has also come under fire in recent months for her efforts to suspend a white student named Morgan Bettinger from campus the critic .
She claimed that Bettinger referred to the BLM protesters as “good speed bumps” in the summer of 2020 – only to later admit that she may have “misunderstood” them.
The incident began in July 2020 when Bettinger accidentally drove down a street where BLM protesters had gathered.
she said Reason Magazine She saw a dump truck partially blocking the road, but since the road was not completely blocked, she continued driving.
When she realized the street was actually closed to traffic, Bettinger decided to park her car and see what was going on.
As she passed, Bettinger said, the truck driver started talking to her and the two chatted briefly.
Bettinger said she remembers telling the truck driver something along the lines of, “It’s a good thing you’re here, otherwise these people would have been speed bumps,” praising his efforts to block traffic.
The driver later confirmed Bettinger’s comments to local police.
But Bryant overheard part of the conversation and tweeted that she said the protesters were doing “good speed limits,” along with a video showing Bettinger backing down the street in her car as Bryant and several other protesters followed her .
“Then she called the police and started crying and said we were attacking her,” Bryant claimed.
The tweet was quickly shared more than a thousand times and internet experts soon identified the driver as Bettinger.
The fact that she made pro-police social media posts and that her late father worked as a police officer only seemed to anger people more. according to Daily Mail.
Just a day later, Bryant asked school administrators to expel Bettinger.
“Email these UVA deans now and demand that Morgan face consequences for her actions and that UVA stop graduating racists,” she tweeted.
Bryant himself filed a complaint with the university’s Judiciary Committee, a student-run disciplinary system, alleging that Bettinger had endangered the health and safety of students.
It found Bettinger guilty of making a legitimate threat against the protesters, even though she failed to prove Bryant’s claims about her intentions.
Jurors concluded that even harmlessly saying those words during a protest deserved punishment, according to documents obtained by Reason magazine.
Bryant also filed a complaint with the school’s Office of Equal Opportunity and Civil Rights, alleging that Bettinger repeated the statement five times and discriminated against her based on her race.
The EOCR office found that three of the five allegations could not be substantiated, and a report found that Bryant most likely did not hear Bettinger’s comments firsthand because no eyewitnesses could corroborate her version of events.
Bettinger eventually graduated from UVA, but, according to Reason, had a lingering mark on her transcript that likely reduced her chances of getting the law degree she had dreamed of.
“This whole situation has had a huge impact on my life,” she told Reason Magazine. “The university never had to answer for its actions.”
Bettinger is now reportedly considering filing a lawsuit against school officials to get her record expunged.
Her lawyers claim her “conviction and punishment occurred without a constitutionally adequate process” because the school failed to resentence her or conduct a “de novo review of the UJC’s clearly flawed judgment.” according to the school newspaper, the Cavalier Daily.
Meanwhile, Bryant has continued to make a name for herself by being featured in the Washington Post and being named to Ebony’s “Power 100” list last year.
The Post has reached out to Dove and its parent company Unilever for comment.