Estée Lauder Exec Suspended Without Pay Over Sharing Meme With Use Of N-Word On Instagram
Fashion & Beauty News

Estée Lauder Exec Suspended Without Pay Over Sharing Meme With Use Of N-Word On Instagram

John Demsey, The Estée Lauder Companies Facebook

John Demsey, group president of the beauty giant Estée Lauder, has been with the company for over 30 years and apparently has not learned not to use the N-word as a top executive of a worldwide brand. 

In the post that landed him public backlash, which has since been removed, was a meme of a spoof book cover of Sesame Street with the racial slur and a joke about COVID-19, reported the Wall Street Journal.

“Effective immediately, John Demsey is being placed on unpaid leave due to content posted on his Instagram handle,” Chief Executive Fabrizio Freda and Chairman William Lauder said in a memo to company leaders on Tuesday.

“The content posted does not represent the values of The Estée Lauder Companies,” the memo continued. “As a company deeply committed to inclusive actions and behavior, and in line with our company policies, our employees and our leadership are accountable for upholding these values.”

Even after deleting the post from his personal Instagram page, the cosmetics executive continued to generate outrage on social media.

“I am terribly sorry and deeply ashamed,” shared Demsey in an Instagram post on Friday.

“I made the horrible mistake of carelessly reposting a racist meme without reading it beforehand…I hope that in time people will judge me, not for this awful mistake, but for my lifetime of words and actions, which demonstrate my respect for all people.”

The seemingly forced apology led to many calling him a “racist” and others coming for his job. 

Estée Lauder reported his income in the range of more than $9.6 million in the last financial year ending on June 30.

The top-ranked exec rose to be head of MAC Cosmetics from 1998 to 2006, until being named global president for the beauty powerhouse, per the New York Post.

There were no further details as to the length or extent of his suspension.