Glee actress Lea Michele has been criticised by animal rights groups for signing to L’Oreal Paris, a company which tests its cosmetics on animals, despite being a vocal animal-rights activist.
The 26-year-old was recently announced as the new face of the cosmetics giant in a $1 (£617,000) million deal.
At the time, the star posted on her Twitter account: “This is such an amazing honor! I’m so happy and excited and thrilled to be a part of the @LOrealParisUSA family!”
But animal rights groups are up in arms about the fact that Lea, a strict vegetarian, has signed to the company that tests its products on animals.
[Related article: Ethical make up and beauty products]“I thought as a #vegetarian you loved animals. LOreal test on animals. How can you advertise a cruel company?”, Jennifer Thompson, author of Living Cruelty Free, asked the star on Twitter.
The animal-rights author later added: “Sadly, #vegetarian Lea Michele's @msleamichele morals vanish as soon as L'Oreal wave some cash under her nose.”
L’Oreal did not test on animals for more than twenty years, but it recently admitted it pays for animal testing to be carried out in Chinese government labs so that its products can be sold there. This is a legal requirement by the county's State Food and Drug Administration.
Other companies, such as Urban Decay, have refused to change its policy to expand into the Chinese market.
The actress’s decision is surprising as Lea has built herself a reputation for promoting animal rights, even filming an anti-fur video for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and personally writing to New York mayor Mike Bloomberg to protest against the use of horse drawn carriages in the city.
“I have such a passion [for animal rights] because I adore animals so much,” she said recently.
However, animal-rights supporters are now questioning the star’s ethics.
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“Even if she didn't know about China, which I doubt, no sane animal rights activist would support L'Oreal,” wrote one user on Facebook.
“And if you really were concerned about animals you'd do some research before selling your soul to a big company. What a disgrace. So many celebrities pretending they care when they don't.”
Others argued it was the money involved that meant Lea threw her animal-loving instincts out of the window.
“I don't think Lea really cares - she's got a lucerative [sic] contract with a cosmetics company and that trumps any sort of activism she may participate in,” wrote another user on Facebook.
“I think she's only vocal on things that are convenient to her. If she was so pro-animal, then why does she wear leather?”
[Related article: Is H&M the new home of ethical fashion?]
Whilst some appeared to be personally offended by Lea’s controversial move.
“It hurts me so bad that @msleamichele has sold her soul to l'Oreal.. #animaltesting #vegan #why? #allaboutthemoney”, wrote @wendyv1976 on Twitter.
And anti-animal testing group Cruelty Free International has spoken exclusively to Yahoo! Lifestyle to voice its view on the matter.
"Cruelty Free International is working to create a world where all cosmetic brands are cruelty-free, so we hope this will no longer be a dilemma for celebrities in the future," said Michelle Thew, Chief Executive of Cruelty Free International.
For a full list of cosmetic brands that are certified under the Humane Standards, visit the Go Cruelty Free website.
Do you buy cosmetics from L’Oreal?