MAC Cosmetics responds to racist trolls on Instagram

MAC Cosmetics’ Instagram account is often bustling with positive energy, a hub where makeup lovers bond over the latest lip color or DIY tutorial. But things took an ugly turn on Wednesday, when a photo the brand shared elicited a slew of racist comments from a small subset of the brand’s 8 million-plus followers.

MAC shared a backstage photo of a black model wearing its “Matte Royal” lip color at the New York Fashion Week on Wednesday evening. The close-up photo focusing on the model’s lips was quickly bombarded with with racist slurs.

Royal romance at @ohnetitelny #AW16. #MACBackstage #NYFW

A photo posted by M∙A∙C Cosmetics (@maccosmetics) on

“Nigga lips?,” one user commented, while another likened her lips to “fish lips.” Yet another user wrote “Holy shit I thought this was Jay Z.” Screen Shot 2016-02-19 at 11.52.44 AM Screen Shot 2016-02-19 at 11.53.03 AM Others were quick to shut down the hate speech, with many women calling out the prejudice and choosing to highlight the beauty of the woman’s features instead. The photo has over 24,000 comments and still counting. Screen Shot 2016-02-19 at 11.56.36 AM Screen Shot 2016-02-19 at 11.55.59 AMOn Thursday, the model under fire, 19-year-old Maryse Kye, responded to both the critical and supportive comments in an Instagram post. “As I turn 20 in a couple days this is a reminder of what I endured in the past and if I survived middle school in america I can get over this,” she said. “The bullying and alienation from others solely based on my features and skin color did not stop me from doing what I want.”

Digiday reached out to MAC for comment, with a spokesperson issuing the following statement: “MAC stands for and respects All Ages, All Races, All Sexes. We do not tolerate any abusive comments in our community.” The brand’s Instagram bio too reflect the same stance: “The Official M∙A∙C Cosmetics Instagram. All Ages, All Races, All Sexes.”

The incident comes shortly after Adidas was at the receiving end of homophobic commentary in response to a picture it posted that depicted two women kissing on Valentine’s Day. The brand responded to its haters with a kiss emoji.

Update: In an ironic twist, model Maryse Kye realized that the photo in question is not hers, but that of fellow model Aamito Stacie Lagum. Kye acknowledged the goof in a post on Instagram on Friday, calling it an “honest mistake” as she had worn similar makeup during a show. She stands by her message of inclusivity, however.

More in Marketing

How brands like Coach are tackling the metaverse opportunity: Is This The Metaverse? Podcast, episode 4

In episode four of the “Is This The Metaverse?” narrative podcast, Glossy international fashion reporter Zofia Zwiegliska spotlights the brand opportunity when it comes to fashion in the metaverse.

Marketing Briefing: As influencer marketing grows up, vetting gets more serious for creator partnerships

Overall there’s more due diligence from marketers when it comes to influencer marketing efforts now, according to marketers and agency execs, who say that there’s been more rigor over the last year, and especially over the last six months.

How the NFL’s LA Rams advertises to in-stadium fans with Snapchat’s AR technology

The collaboration between the Los Angeles Rams and Snapchat goes back to 2020 as the Rams made became the first NFL team to conceive a Snapchat AR experience, affording fans the opportunity to virtually wear the team’s recently unveiled uniform.