by Carmen Van Kerckhove
No, there isn’t. At least not in my opinion.
As you know, Racialicious has been among the many blogs encouraging people to vote for Kiri Davis’s short film “A Girl Like Me,” a finalist for CosmoGirl.com’s film contest. The winner would have received a $10,000 scholarship and would have been featured in the August 2007 issue.
CosmoGirl suddenly canceled the online film competition on Thursday evening, just hours before the competition would have ended and posted this rather vague message:
We have determined that the online voting has been corrupted as a result of one or more instances of tampering with the voting process by users. As a result, none of the online votes will be counted, and we will submit all three of the semi-finalists to our panel of experts for final judging and selection of a winner.
Because the competition was canceled just as Kiri was soaring into the lead for the first time since the competition started, may are wondering if canceling the competition was some sort of conspiracy to prevent her from winning. Even Radar caught wind of conspiracy theory fears (thanks Patrice!).
But spokespeople from CosmoGirl have responded to confirm that the vote tampering did indeed happen. See CosmoGirl Editor-in-Chief Susan Schulz’s comment on Afrobella, and another spokesperson’s response to Radar (see update at the bottom of the post). And ExpatJane posted screenshots on Afrobella that do seem to show some serious irregularities.
Given the fervor with which people have been supporting Kiri’s film and the deep emotional connection we felt to the subject matter, CosmoGirl could probably have handled this better. Posting a long message detailing exactly what kind of tampering they uncovered, for example, would have been a good move to dispel the skepticism that was bound to exist.
But I think it’s safe to say that no, there is no conspiracy. If CosmoGirl had really be so threatened by the content of Kiri’s film (its themes of Eurocentric ideals of beauty and white supremacy) I doubt the film would have made it as far as it did.