Estée Lauder has fired John Demsey, a senior executive at the makeup company, for an offensive Instagram post on his personal account that used a racial slur.
The company said Monday that Demsey’s termination was the “result of his recent Instagram posts, which do not reflect the values of the Estée Lauder Companies,” adding that the post caused “widespread offense.”
Estée Lauder (EL) said Demsey, who has been with the brand for about 30 years, will be leaving his role “this week.” A replacement wasn’t named.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Demsey posted on his Instagram account last week a spoof book cover based on the TV show “Sesame Street” that used the N-word with some letters replaced with asterisks. The post was apparently mocking Covid-19. Demsey deleted the offensive post and apologized, writing that he was “terribly sorry and deeply ashamed,” adding that he didn’t read the “racist meme” before posting it.
“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,” Estée Lauder said in its statement Monday. The company owns a number of brands, including MAC and Clinique.