ABC Cheers Belgian Woman's Modeling Contract, Ignores That It Was Revoked After 'Hunting Americans' Joke

The hosts of Good Morning America, the superficial ABC morning show, on Friday gushed over a beautiful woman who was spotted at a World Cup match and given a modeling contract by L'Oreal. Yet, Robin Roberts and reporter Gio Benitez somehow managed to ignore the important part of the story: Axelle Despiegelaere has already been fired by the company after joking about "hunting Americans." 

Completely avoiding the resolution, Roberts enthused, "For one woman, [the World Cup] offered her a chance of a lifetime." Benitez hyped Despiegelaere and her "golden ticket." He raved, "As the world's attention was on the soccer field, World Cup photographers had their lenses focused on one beautiful face in the crowd." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Giving half the story, Benitez continued, "She came out a winner. L'oreal offering mod gig in this beauty tutorial for their hair products." The journalist didn't tell viewers about what Despiegelaere said on her Facebook page. 

There, the 17-year-old wrote, "Hunting is not a matter of life or death. It’s much more important than that..this was about 1 year ago…ready to hunt Americans today haha." Next to the picture was a shot of the young woman and a dead gazelle. 

According to Buzz Feed, Despiegelaere tried backtracking, "It was a joke. Thanks for understanding." 

The damage was done, however and L'Oreal announced it will no longer be working with Despiegelaere.

GMA journalists mentioned none of this, focusing only on her looks. Benitez concluded, "Proof that when beauty is in the eye of the stadium camera holder, a life can change in an instant." 

A partial transcript of the relevant sections of the July 11 segment can be found below: 


7:50

ROBIN ROBERTS: Now to the World Cup. There's been no shortage of memorable moments. But for one woman, it offered her a chance of a lifetime. Gio Benitez is in Central Park with that story for us. Oh, my goodness. Good morning, gio. Good morning, Gio. 

GIO BENITEZ: Let's play a live edition of where's Waldo. Can you find me in the crowd? It's easy to get lost in a sea of people, right? But for one 17-year-old at the World Cup, well, her photo taken there in the crowd, it may have been her golden ticket. As the world's attention was on the soccer field, World Cup photographers had their lenses focused on one beautiful face in the crowd. There she is. Seventeen year-old Axelle Despiegelaere, cheering on Belgium in the June 22nd game against Russia. She came out a winner. L'oreal offering mod gig in this beauty tutorial for their hair products.

...

BENITEZ: Proof that when beauty is in the eye of the stadium camera holder, a life can change in an instant. 

Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock
Scott Whitlock is the senior news analyst for the Media Research Center and a contributing editor for NewsBusters.org