Estée Lauder suspends executive John Demsey over racial slur on Instagram

By Becky Bargh | 25-Feb-2022

Long-term employee of the beauty multinational has been placed on unpaid leave after a post that contained the n-word

A top executive at beauty giant Estée Lauder has been suspended without pay following backlash over an Instagram post that contained the n-word.

John Demsey (pictured) – Estée Lauder’s Group President – is a long-term employee of the family founded beauty business, having worked across the Estée Lauder brand and MAC Cosmetics for more than two decades.

The post, which has since been removed, featured a meme of a spoof book cover of the Children’s TV Show Sesame Street along with the racial slur.

An internal memo, written by CEO Fabrizio Freda and obtained by the Wall Street Journal, said: “Effective immediately, John Demsey is being placed on unpaid leave due to content posted on his Instagram handle.

“The content posted does not represent the values of The Estée Lauder Companies.

“As a company deeply committed to inclusive actions and behaviour, and in line with our company policies, our employees and our leadership are accountable for upholding these values.”

Demsey’s Instagram account boasts almost 74,000 followers.

Despite deleting the image, the MAC veteran has continued to face backlash online.

Comments on other posts made this week have called the 65-year-old a “racist”, and even called for his resignation.

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