Bioré Skincare apologized over the weekend for a TikTok influencer who promoted its products in an ad and repeatedly referenced a school shooting she survived.
Influencer Cecilee Max-Brown posted a TikTok Thursday discussing her battles with anxiety and made specific mention of a recent school shooting.
“Life has thrown countless obstacles at me this year, from a school shooting to having no idea what life is going to look like after college. In support of Mental Health Awareness Month, I’m partnering with Bioré Skincare to strip away the stigma of anxiety,” Max-Brown said in the TikTok.
Later in the video, Max-Brown said her anxiety has “come in waves,” adding that she has struggled from seeing “the effects of gun violence firsthand.” She then describes the “feeling of terror” during walks around her college campus in the weeks after the shooting while a voiceover plays on a video of a Michigan State basketball game.
The shooting referenced in the video took place on Michigan State University’s campus in East Lansing on February 13, resulting in the deaths of three students and injuring five others. The gunman died by suicide when confronted by police.
The ad prompted widespread backlash on social media, with many commentators questioning the appropriateness of using a school shooting as part of a pitch to sell skincare products.
One viral video that stitched with the original TikTok came from user @professorneil, who concluded that “we are living in The Bad Place.”
NBC News reported that the TikTok has been taken down from Max-Brown’s account and that she told the outlet on Friday that the video “came off completely wrong.” She subsequently posted an apology video on Sunday
In response to the online criticism, Bioré Skincare posted a lengthy apology on its Facebook page Saturday night, saying that while a lot of people are angry at the brand, they asked for it to be directed their way and not towards Max-Brown.
“Our consumers have told us that mental health is one of their biggest priorities, and it is so important for us to be able to provide meaningful support to them around this issue. 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,” the post read.