There have been a lot of powerful social media responses to the revelation that Ray Rice assaulted his wife Janay in an elevator, as well as to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s mishandling of the Rice situation. But few have been quite so damning as #GoodellMustGo, a hashtag demanding Goodell’s resignation accompanied by a Photoshopped image of a CoverGirl model with a black eye.
— LeslieMac (@LeslieMac) September 16, 2014
The meme surfaced last weekend, after journalist Adele Stan, an editor for the American Prospect, Photoshopped a CoverGirl ad featuring a model wearing Baltimore Ravens-themed makeup to make it look as if she had a black eye. The makeup brand has partnered up with the NFL this season for a “Get Your Game Face On” campaign, featuring models wearing makeup modeled after the colors of various NFL teams.
“The [CoverGirl] sponsorship was the perfect opportunity to engage women who aren’t necessarily feminists to make an impact,” Stan told ABC News affiliate KLTV. “Any woman ever given a shiner by an intimate partner has used make-up to cover it up.”
Since then, the meme and #GoodellMustGo have gone viral, with thousands of people urging women to boycott CoverGirl and the NFL. The women’s rights group UltraViolet also took the hashtag to the skies, flying over the Cleveland Browns and San Francisco 49ers stadiums with #GoodellMustGo banners during game day last Sunday.
For his part, Goodell has not responded to the calls for his resignation, failing to show up for a scheduled appearance at a 49ers game last Sunday. But on Monday, CoverGirl removed the original Baltimore Ravens photo from its Get Your Game On page and issued the following statement on its Facebook page:
“As a brand that has always supported women and stood for female empowerment, COVERGIRL believes domestic violence is completely unacceptable. We developed our NFL program to celebrate the more than 80 million female football fans. In light of recent events, we have encouraged the NFL to take swift action on their path forward to address the issue of domestic violence.”
The brand has not, as yet, dropped its sponsorship of the NFL.