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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are fending off backlash for a partnership they engaged in with a beauty care line that peddles skin-whitening creams – which many have raised their eyebrows at considering the pair are stout anti-racism advocates, reports said on Monday.
After the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced last week that they landed a deal with Procter & Gamble (P&G), the manufacturer of the popular and oft-controversial Olay line of skin management and lightening creams a former executive with the company criticized the move in an interview with The Mirror.
"Meghan has talked a lot about the issue of race and racism, so this does stick out like a sore thumb," Alex Malouf, a former Procter & Gamble executive, told the publication.
The "global partnership" with P&G was established to "build more compassionate communities," and according to the Daily Mail, the Olay brand currently sells the "White Radiance" moisturizer in India, Singapore and Malaysia.
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Many skin-lightening creams tout the product’s ability to mitigate the production of natural melanin, which gives skin its various levels of pigmentation.
Throughout the years, loud critics have called for such products to be removed from shelves, arguing that the creams promote the colorist notion that pigmented skin is in some way in need of lightening.
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An investigation into Johnson & Johnson’s Neutrogena Fine Fairness Overnight Brightening Cream conducted by Buzzfeed last year forced the company to drop the skincare line which was readily available in Asia and the Middle East.
The cream includes "white lily extract" to achieve "long lasting fairness" and according to the brand’s website, "restores skin’s natural whitening power," the outlet reported at the time.