Kat Von D Beauty is walking a thin line. In recent years the beloved vegan beauty brand tied to the tattoo artist and makeup maven Kat Von D, has raised brows and infuriated consumers for offensive product names and promotions. A few years back it was a lipstick called Underage Red, this week it’s an Instagram promotion for the brand’s popular Lock-It concealer.
In a recently deleted post to the Von D Beauty brand’s Instagram page, which fans are calling tone deaf and insensitive, the brand seemingly made an in poor taste reference to slavery.
An image of a woman holding up a concealer before a field of cotton has fans incensed.
Kat Von D really trying to sell us makeup in the most disgustingly racist way I think I’ve ever seen. Who the fuck takes a photo in front of a cotton field? @KATVONDbeauty this is trash. This is absolutely TRAAAAASH. https://t.co/kYbkQyvqjq
— Grace ☾ (@GraceFVictory) September 20, 2018
Both Kat Von D and her brand are being ridiculed by fans for reposting an image by one of the beauty brand’s fan pages (London Fame) which featured the hand of a dark-skinned woman holding up the Lock-It concealer against a field of cotton buds. It’s an image that I might have been willing to give a pass and chalk up to a concept executed with not so great care or thinking and a KVD Beauty social media manager who didn’t see why it shouldn’t be reposted, but then I realized that the original post by London Fame had a completely different caption. Yes, the caption “Let Lock-It Concealer do all the hard work for you with instant one-coat coverage” was one created by the people at Kat Von D HQ all on their own. It doesn’t stop there though. To really drive home whatever message they were trying to sell (or perhaps further their push to just drive the beauty brand into the gutter) the caption creator used a brown-skinned arm of strength emoji. Though, maybe that’s just because they couldn’t find anything more blatantly racist to top off what they were going for?
In response to the image and its caption one user wrote “Picking cotton also hard work I see the correlation here.” Another commented “Son of a … I’ve been defending you dammit! Now you’ve posted a photo fo a cotton field with an insensitive caption. Bye @thekatvond I’ll be waiting on your heartfelt apology via Youtube. #Cancelled.”
Of course, it’s certainly important to note that the image was reposted by Von D’s beauty brand and not necessarily tattoo artist herself.
Still, it’s not a good look for Von D who has been accused of tone-deafness, racism, and antisemitism in the past. In 2016 the beauty brand owner accused beauty vlogger Jeffree Starr of racism after breaking off her relationship and ending her engagement to alleged bigot Jesse James just a few years prior. Before and during their engagement, pictures of James performing a Nazi salute while in a Nazi uniform circulated the internet, though his lawyer later dismissed the images of as a joke, after all, he said, the hat was a “a gag gift [from] his Jewish godfather,” and James once “vacationed on a kibbutz.” Of course, there’s also the time she used the anti-Semitist word “Selektion” to promote a lipstick color, which has since been renamed “Beloved.” She also caught extreme backlash and calls for boycotting earlier this year when she announced that she would not vaccinate her child.
In response to the image’s backlash, the beauty brand replied in a statement to the DailyMail that ‘We often repost imagery that our fans create that display artistic composition we love. We re-posted the image with the intention of celebrating the artful representation of one of our products. Unfortunately, it was paired with text which we now recognize could be misconstrued. We have since taken down the post, and apologize for any offense this may have caused.’