Estee Lauder senior executive forced to quit after posting racist meme

Feb. 28 (UPI) -- John Demsey, a senior executive at Estee Lauder, was asked to leave the beauty giant Monday after posting a meme with a racial slur on his Instagram account.

Demsey was told to leave the company and agreed to retire effective March 4.


"This decision is the result of his recent Instagram posts, which do not reflect the values of The Estée Lauder Companies, have caused widespread offense, are damaging to our efforts to drive inclusivity both inside and outside our walls, and do not reflect the judgment we expect of our leaders," the company said in a staff memo.

The company promised to fight for racial justice, donated $5 million to support education, and promised to donate $5 million over the next two years.

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Demsey, 65, oversaw a portfolio of major brands like MAC, Clinique, Too Faced and Smashbox. His total compensation at Estee Lauder was valued at $9.6 million in 2021.


Demsey has thousands of followers on Instagram and often uses the platform to post memes along with beauty-related content.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Demsey posted a spoof book cover based on the TV show "Sesame Street" that used a derogatory word with some letters replaced with asterisks.

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He apologized for the meme he posted, stating that he undermined everything he worked for since he began his career 31 years ago.

"I am so sorry that I let down the company that I have dedicated my life's work to as well as its employees, artists, friends and colleagues," he wrote. "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."

A replacement wasn't named.

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