BLM activist and Dove ‘fat acceptance ambassador’ Zyahna Bryant backed DEFUNDING the police – but called cops on DailyMail.com over polite interview request
- DailyMail.com visited community organizer and UVA student, Zyahna Bryant, 22, on Friday to request an interview in the wake of the Dove boycott
- But her manager Sean Lawton quickly got in touch to say they couldn’t comment, and Charlottesville’s chief of police then called DailyMail.com
- Bryant has campaigned for the defunding of police, and promoted the work of Minneapolis organizers ‘pushing for the abolition of the city’s police department’
The Black Lives Matters activist at the center of a furious backlash after Dove announced a partnership with her called police after a polite interview request – despite promoting the defunding of police departments.
DailyMail.com visited community organizer and University of Virginia student, Zyahna Bryant, 22, to ask about the controversy.
We spoke to a woman who said she was Bryant’s sister and handed over contact details – but then Bryant’s manager called, saying the activist felt threatened. Charlottesville chief of police then called, echoing the manager’s message.
Yet Bryant is an outspoken advocate for defunding police, and promoted the abolition of a Minneapolis police department.
‘Defund the police,’ she wrote on Instagram in July 2020, adding the hashtag echoing her message.
A month earlier, she had told Teen Vogue she supported the abolition of police departments.
‘In Minneapolis, MPD150 is a group of local grassroots organizers pushing for the abolition of the city’s police department, and it also has a handy zine for frequently asked questions about abolition,’ she wrote.
On Friday, Bryant called the police almost immediately when DailyMail.com knocked on her door.
Mike Kochis, Charlottesville’s chief of police, explained he had received a call from Bryant saying ‘she was feeling uncomfortable,’ and wanting to ‘get ahead of any situation.’
He acknowledged that DailyMail.com had done nothing wrong, was on a public street, and had simply asked for an interview and left.
He described the family as ‘good people’ and stated he is not aware of any actual threats having been made to Bryant at this time.
Kochis’s call came shortly after one by a man who introduced himself as Sean Lawton, her manager.
Lawton said: ‘Zyahna feels threatened right now. This is now about her security.’
Dove’s decision to hire the controversial Bryant as a ‘fat acceptance ambassador’ has seen thousands take to social media calling for a boycott of their products.
Bryant sparked controversy by falsely accusing a white fellow student at the University of Virginia of saying that BLM protesters would be ‘good speedbumps’.
The accusation was particularly painful, given the history of Charlottesville and the August 2017 far-right rally which ended in a counter-protester being run over and killed by a neo-Nazi.
Bryant later admitted she may have ‘misheard’ the remarks by Morgan Bettinger, but the damage was done.
The boycott, which has grown this week, has been billed as their ‘Bud Light moment’ – a reference to the beer’s disastrous partnership with Dylan Mulvaney.
Speaking on Friday, Bryant’s manager said: ‘The biggest concern right now is about her security and her safety.
‘That means this has now fallen into the domain of a legal matter which means we are unable to offer any comment at this time.’
When asked what he meant by a ‘legal matter,’ Lawton said: ‘It means I am unable to offer a comment at the advice of legal.’
And, revealing that his client was holed up in her Charlottesville home, Lawton added: ‘Are you in a grey SUV? She can see you from her window.’
Bettinger, 24, was the target of threats from an ill-informed online mob fueled by Bryant’s claims that she had heard the student threaten to turn protesters in Charlottesville into ‘speedbumps’.
Bettinger accidentally drove into a group protesting the death of George Floyd on July 17, 2020.
Bryant tweeted a photo of Bettinger and said: ‘The woman in this truck approached protesters in #Charlottesville, and told us that we would make ‘good speedbumps.’
‘She then called the police and started crying saying we were attacking her.’
The claims – which Bryant later admitted may not have been true – were retweeted 1,000 times and a torrent of hate poured down on Bettinger, the daughter of a police officer.
Furious conservatives have begun boycotting Dove after the soap brand hired Bryant last week.
Carole Thorpe, from Charlottesville, shared a photo of three bars of Dove soap tossed in the trash on Thursday, on learning the Unilever-owned brand had joined forces with Bryant to push a ‘fat liberation’ campaign.
Sharing her horror at news of Bryant’s glitzy Dove gig, Thorpe wrote: ‘After hearing that Dove Beauty chose Zyahna Bryant – who ruined Morgan Bettinger’s life – for their ‘fat acceptance ambassador,’ THIS lifelong large lady & now former Dove customer tossed out the last three bars of Dove product she will EVER buy. I have written to Unilever too.’
Scores of other angry users on X, formerly known as Twitter, also vowed to stop buying Dove products in protest at the campaign, which 22 year-old Bryant has been pushing on Instagram.