ATLANTA - A termination letter from a modeling agency has sparked a social media uproar after a pro-Trump model claimed she was fired for her conservative views and posted the letter online.
The Atlanta-based agency has countered the claims, said the uproar has been misconstrued and criticizes the model's other various social media posts that it deems offensive.
Model Zoe Bethel said she worked with Ursula Wiedmann Models and had a contract, which the agency disputes, and said she believes she was fired after staff at the agency viewed her photos of her in a "Make America Great Again" hat.
The termination e-mail with the subject line "Contract Release" states, "The team has been talking about your political racist connections and we have decided to release you from your contract...
Your current public persona is not relative to our brand," it reads.
Bethel claims she received it after a back-and-forth dispute with staff on social media over politics.
Another photo she believes caused backlash was one of her alongside Donald Trump, Jr. in Washington, D.C. at a recent Young Black Leadership Summit.
"I had no warning at all that my contract was going to be released because of my political views," Bethel said via Facetime to FOX 5. "I was insulted. I was very insulted because she associated me with being a racist," she said.
Ursula Wiedmann Models confirms it sent the email. It sent the following statement:
"Our agency did not have a fully executed contract with the woman in question, and therefore we did not 'fire' her. She never worked for us and there was no interest from other agencies or clients in working with her, which was a large factor in our decision to not execute the contract.
"We are committed to fostering diversity on every level and to do that we must ensure that our models, who act as representatives of the agency, share in those values. While each signed model is entitled to their own personal politics; statements she made on social media were brought to the attention of the agency before the contract was signed, and the agency decided she would not be a good reflection of the inclusive values we try to exhibit. We work in a diverse industry and we do not tolerate intolerance of any kind. We wish her the best in her future endeavors.”
The agency's owner, Ursula Wiedmann, speaking by phone to FOX 5, claimed she did not have an issue with Bethel's political views or the aforementioned photos, but rather, other social media posts she did not specify.
Wiedmann also countered that Bethel's foray into the political arena strayed into the zone of a "political figure" and could offend various clients.
The agency has received threats and angry messages through phone calls and social media since the post.
Bethel said she does not condone the hatred and threats.
"We need to respect each of our views. We are not going to agree on the same thing," she said.