The World Cup has brought us many emotional high's and low's as some of us sat at the edge of our seats cheering fanatically for our favourite teams. Amidst this rollercoatser of emotion and excitement another story was developing seemingly out of the blue, and just as quickly as it started, it came to a screeching halt.
Axelle Despiegelaere, a 17 year old Belgian soccer fan, was photographed cheering for her country in a match against Russia. Overnight Axelle Despiegelaere was thrust into super stardom as the power of social media and photography took effect. Little could she, or anyone, predict that these images would go viral. So viral in fact that they caught the attention of L'Oreal who instantly offered the young woman a modelling contract. They went so far as to create this promotional video:
What L'Oreal did not realize at the time was that Axelle Despiegelaere was an avid hunter and shortly after being given her modelling contract she posted the following on her Facebook Page:
With the recent hot topic in the news being Kendall Jones, the Texas cheerleader who posted pictures of herself posing with animals she hunted and killed in South Africa, it was quite apparent that this move by Axelle Despiegelaere was going to draw some criticism. Sure enough the comments began flooding in:
L'Oreal being a company that is trying to uphold its contributions and beliefs towards animal welfare have decided to immediatley terminate the modelling contract which they offered Axelle Despiegelaere. A L'Oreal spokesperson said: "L’Oréal Professionnel Belgium collaborated with her on an ad hoc basis to produce a video for social media use in Belgium. The contract has now been completed." Whether this was indeed a one off offer for Axelle Despiegelaere, or if this is a back-peddaling attempt by L'Oreal is up for debate, however it is clear that the company wants to distance itself from the controversy surrounded the social media frenzy that has been created around the latest internet sensation.
Fellow Fstoppers writer, Clay Cook, recently wrote a fantastic article covering the "Do's and Don'ts of Social Media", and this story may be the perfect case study for how our hyper-sensitive state of media can seemingly rocket an individual to world-wide fame and at the same time can be a vehicle for complete career suicide. As photographers we are very closely tied to social media these days and we must be ever vigilant not just of the images we put out into the world, but the image which we portray to the world.
[via Business Insider]