One contestant on The Bachelor got herself in a very sticky situation, and Pilot Pete is flying to the rescue. On Tuesday, Feb. 4, Peter defended Victoria F. after Cosmo pulled the Bachelor cover that she had won after a group date on the show. The publication decided to ditch the cover after it surfaced online that Victoria wore clothing with a "White Lives Matter" slogan in a modeling campaign before appearing on the show.
While appearing on the Build series the morning after Cosmopolitan pulled their cover, Peter explained that he didn't know about the campaign beforehand, and defended her. "I just recently heard about that with the cover being removed," he explained. "All I can speak on is the time I was able to spend with Victoria throughout this experience," he continued. "And I truly enjoyed my experience with her. I really feel like she’s a good person. She’s got a lot of endearing qualities.”
Peter also expressed hope that viewers would only judge Victoria based off what they see on the show, not on her past. “I just hope that people can form their opinion on her based on what they see between the two of us and her time on the show,” he said. “She’s not perfect, I’m not perfect, no one’s perfect, but, yeah, that’s all I can really say on that.”
According to reports, Victoria's campaign was part of a marlin conservation effort that used the slogans "White Lives Matter" and "Blue Lives Matter," as well as the confederate flag design, on their clothing in order to promote the protection of blue and white marlins. However, the phrases are derived from the Black Lives Matter movement as a way to minimize the violence that people of color face in the U.S. And, after the magazine challenge aired on Monday, Cosmo editor-in-chief Jessica Pels said she would not be releasing the cover as planned.
Despite the intention of the campaign, Pels wrote, "both phrases and the belief systems they represent are rooted in racism and therefore problematic," so she decided to pull the cover. “Unequivocally, the White Lives Matter movement does not reflect the values of the Cosmo brand,” she continued. “We stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter and any cause that fights to end injustices for people of color.”
Before the cover was pulled, Victoria reportedly defended herself on Instagram last month. "The company 'We Love Marlins' is in support of catching white, blue & black marlins and releasing them back into the wild," she wrote, according to E! News. "In regards to a sensitive topic, I come from a very diverse background & am in support of all races!"
As reported by E!, after the backlash grew more intense, Victoria left a comment on a post from the @bachelorclues Instagram account also apologizing for her actions. "I'm sorry if you or anyone else's feelings were hurt," she wrote, acknowledging that she could "definitely see how this could be offensive."