'Black and Brown' influencers were harassed on a Topicals brand trip to France, the skincare company said

Creator Nella Rose said staff at the French spa were discriminating against Muslim influencers.
Creator Nella Rose said staff at the French spa were discriminating against Muslim influencers.Nella Rose/TikTok
  • Black-owned skincare company Topicals said influencers on its latest brand trip were mistreated.

  • The brand said the "Black and Brown" creators were discriminated against and harassed in France.

  • Influencer Nella Rose said staff at a French spa singled out Muslim creators in modest swimwear.

A Black-owned skincare brand said influencers who traveled to France on a brand trip it organized experienced "racism and Islamophobia." The allegations come as a content creator on the trip said in a TikTok video that staff at a spa turned away Muslim guests because they were wearing modest swimwear.

Topicals said Monday that the incident occurred during a recent brand trip to the French Alps attended by "Black and Brown creators from the UK and US."

On X, formerly known as Twitter, Topicals shared that, at one of the "establishments" on the itinerary, the group of creators "experienced discrimination, harassment, and were threatened to have law enforcement called on." Topicals did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

The brand also said that experiencing racism "in this magnitude" was "horrific to say the least" and that it prompted them to take their "business elsewhere — quick, fast, and in a hurry."

"Just as any other group of people, we should be able to enjoy the luxuries of travel and finer experiences without the constant fear of hate," it said in its thread. "As a Black-owned brand, we will not allow this to stop us. We will continue to place Black and Brown creators at the forefront of our branded experiences. Discrimination cannot and will not stop us."

Topicals also said it will donate $10,000 to Muslim and Black organizations in France to bolster "local power and joy within marginalized communities."

At least one influencer on the trip shared their experience online, identifying the establishment.

Ornella Rose Hollela, a content creator known professionally as Nella Rose, shared on Instagram that a group of about 20 influencers, including two Muslim women, visited QC Terme Spa together.

But before they made it to the pool, she said, a staff member approached the two Muslim women, who were dressed in modest swimwear, and said they couldn't enter the area.

Because Rose speaks French, she said, she attempted to discuss the matter with the employee, but he directed her to send them to a gift shop on the property that sells bikinis.

After Rose and the two Muslim women rejoined their group, she shared in her video that they were also approached by other employees who said spa attendees felt "uncomfortable" around the group.

Rose also shared a TikTok recap of the trip, which included a clip of the group leaving the spa while people who appear to be spa employees argue with them. Business Insider could not independently confirm that the video was taken on the spa's property.

"This is them calling the police on us," Rose said in her video.

Rose and QC Terme Spa did not immediately respond to a request for comment from BI. Other creators who appeared to be on the trip, including Kanaan Pitan, Shaq Muhammad, Aiyana Lewis, and Jéssica Pimentel, also did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Modest swimsuits, sometimes called burkinis, have come under fire in France for years, with some beaches even banning the garments. Muslim women dress modestly for many reasons, but a central one is to respect and deepen their relationship with God, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Some in France argue that the swimsuits go against French laws of secularism, while others, like Ange-Pierre Vivoni —the mayor of a community on the island of Corsica — said in 2016 that they promote "Islamist fundamentalists," according to Reuters.

Muslim women have long argued against such restrictions. Miss Pakistan even wore modest swimwear in 2023, during the 72nd annual Miss Universe pageant, to make a statement that the garments are not only acceptable but beautiful.

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