By Jillian Ruffo
Updated March 30, 2016 10:22 PM
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Emma Watson may only be a 25, but she’s a style and beauty icon for many millennials. She’s also a passionate advocate for women’s rights, gender equality and other causes. That’s why her rep is hitting back hard at new claims that question her character.

In 2013, Watson allegedly endorsed Lancôme’s Blanc Expert skin whitening line — and the Internet isn’t happy about it, despite the brand standing behind its product.


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Watson hasn’t been featured in ads for the products since 2013 (and is no longer affiliated with Lancôme), but Gal-Dem, an online magazine, brought the Asian ads for Blanc Expert to the attention of United States consumers this week, suggesting that because Watson is white, Lancôme is giving off the notion that her skin tone is the ideal outcome of using the product.

“Emma Watson, forever paraded in the media as a white feminist icon, is the face of Lancôme’s ‘Blanc Expert’ (Expert White) which contains disruptive ingredients intended to whiten the skin,” the story said.

But Watson’s rep quickly snapped back at critics in a statement to PeopleStyle, saying, “Many artists often have limited control of how their image is used once an endorsement contract is signed. I cannot comment on my client’s previous contractual arrangements with Lancome. However my client no longer participates in advertising beauty products, which do not always reflect the diverse beauty of all women.”

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And according to a statement from Lancôme, there’s nothing unusual about a line of products that hold “whitening” or “brightening” claims.

A representative from the brand tells PeopleStyle, “Blanc Expert was created by Lancôme 20 years ago. It helps brighten, even skin tone, and provides a healthy looking complexion. This kind of product, proposed by every brand, is an essential part of Asian women’s beauty routines.”

What do you think of Watson’s controversy? Tell us below.

— Jillian Ruffo