John Demsey sacked from Estée Lauder over n-word repost

By Becky Bargh 28-Feb-2022

After more than 3 decades with the American beauty giant, the former Group President has been told he cannot continue in his role

Inside Estée Lauder's Milan, Italy, store

Inside Estée Lauder's Milan, Italy, store

John Demsey, formerly the Group President of Estée Lauder Companies (ELC), has been sacked his job after posting an offensive racial slur on social media.

Last week, the 65-year-old – who has been working at the American beauty giant for more than three decades – was suspended without pay for reposting an image on Instagram that contained the n-word.

The image, which has now been removed, according to the Wall Street Journal, featured a meme of a spoof book cover for the Children’s TV Show Sesame Street.

In a statement issued by ELC’s Executive Chairman, William Lauder, and CEO Fabrizio Freda, Demsey (pictured) has been told “he must leave the company”.

He is expected to leave the business, which owns MAC Cosmetics and Clinique, this week.

“This decision is the result of his [Demsey’s] recent Instagram posts, which do not reflect the values of The Estée Lauder Companies, have caused widespread offence, are damaging to our efforts to drive inclusivity both inside and outside our walls, and do not reflect the judgement we expect of our leaders,” read the statement.

“Our employees, and especially our senior leaders, are accountable to continue driving our progress and to respect the values of this company for the long term.”

Beauty backs Demsey

Famous faces among the beauty industry have shown their support for Demsey, in spite of the backlash.

In an Instagram post apologising for the “horrible mistake”, beauty names including Joanna Czech, founder of her namesake skin care brand; R+Co founder Thom Priano; and make-up artist Sandy Linter, all showed their support for the long-standing ELC executive.

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Journalist Alina Cho and Maye Musk also came out in support of Demsey.