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Milana Vayntrub — who stars in a long-running AT&T campaign— responded to another round of online sexual harassment following recent ads that air during the NCAA Tournament.
The 34-year-old actress, who plays AT&T saleswoman "Lily Adams" in the media company's advertisements and who has acted in television shows like This Is Us and Days of Our Lives, tweeted on March 20: "Been getting a lot of 'Why are they placing her body like that in those ads?' Well, I direct the ads. I place myself like that. And it’s because of the thousands of unwelcome comments I receive about my body. You’ve lost the privilege of looking at it until I feel safe again."
In the ads, Vayntrub is sitting behind a desk, with her lower body concealed, unlike in previous spots in which she stood in front of the camera. The campaign promotes the NCAA tournament (for the National Collegiate Athletic Association), also known as March Madness, of which AT&T is a partner. Last year, Vayntrub showed off her directing skills in behind-the-scenes footage posted to her official TikTok page.
But Vayntrub's response activated even more sexual harassment in the Twitter thread, as users called her "sexy," "beautiful" and cute" and critiqued her hairstyle. "Based on her comment, 'you're beautiful' would be one of those unwelcome comments she mentioned and part of the point you missed," a Twitter user pointed out.
"Really impressive how many dudes think they should respond to this by commenting on her body," another noted. Someone said the tweets, many of which came from men, were "disrespectful and creepy." And one person speculated that Vayntrub chose to sit in the ads to conceal an alleged pregnancy.
Vayntrub, who declined to comment to Yahoo Life, faced the same harassment last year on social media, which she addressed in an Instagram Live video that was posted to Twitter. "I am not consenting to any of this," Vayntrub said in the footage. "I do not want any of this." The actress also said that decade-old photos of her that were shared by strangers on social media, were from a college pool party.
And she read aloud derogatory written comments that appeared as she spoke. "I'm hurting," she said in the video. "And it's bringing up a lot of feelings of sexual assault."
Jim Kimberly, director of corporate communications at AT&T tells Yahoo Life in a statement, "We will not tolerate the inappropriate comments and harassment of Milana Vayntrub, the talented actor and director who portrays Lily in our ads. Last summer, we disabled or deleted these comments on our social sites. We continue to fight to support her and our values, which appreciate and respect all women." A brand spokesperson reiterated the same message last year.
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