Influencer Who Survived Deadly School Shooting Says Sorry for Referencing It in Skincare Ad

The influencer survived a deadly school shooting earlier this year at Michigan State University.

Video via TikTok

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Video via TikTok

An influencer and a skincare brand have both issued lengthy apology statements after referencing a deadly school shooting in a recent (and swiftly mocked) ad.

“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,” Cecilee Max-Brown says in the opening seconds of the Bioré ad in question. “In Support of Mental Health Awareness Month, I’m partnering with Bioré Skincare to strip away the stigma of anxiety. We want you to get it all out, not only what’s in your pores but most importantly what’s on your mind too.”

From there, Max-Brown spoke more about the shooting and how it left her in a state of “terror” for weeks after. Per multiple reports, including this one from the Washington Post, the influencer recently graduated from Michigan State University. The school’s campus was the location of a mass shooting in February of this year during which three students were killed by a 43-year-old gunman who ultimately took his own life.

Following a wave of backlash and impassioned criticism of the ad, both Max-Brown and Bioré have apologized.

“I am so sorry about this partnership video,” Max-Brown said in a statement shared to TikTok this week. “This was strictly meant to spread awareness about the struggles that I have had with anxiety since our school shooting. This partnership was not intending to come off as the product fixing the struggles I’ve [had] since this event. Rather, partnering with a brand to spread awareness of what me and so many other students have been dealing with.”

Max-Brown added that she “did not mean to desensitize the traumatic event” through the ad, noting the impact it has had not only on her but on others in the community as well. 

“I take accountability for this and will ensure to be smarter in the future,” she said.

Bioré, meanwhile, urged those upset over the ad to direct their frustrations at them and not others involved with its production.

“We lacked sensitivity around an incredible serious tragedy, and our tonality was completely inappropriate,” a brand spokesperson said in a statement shared to Instagram. “We are so sorry.” Moving forward, the brand’s statement said, the larger “mental health mission” of which this ad was an intended part will be carried out “in a better way.”

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