If you’re a fan of makeup - or just occasionally peruse the beauty section of YouTube - you’re bound to have come across the familiar face of Jeffree Star, Internet celebrity and millionaire.
Star was recently the subject of fellow YouTuber Shane Dawson’s YouTube documentary ‘The Secret Life of Jeffree Star’. This seems to have dragged the infamous makeup mogul into a more benevolent light. It paints him as a person who deserves sympathy. And it’s worked, as shown by the thousands of viral tweets in support of him that followed the documentary. I can see why. He’s entertaining and he seems to have had a tough life, which is always relatable to the masses. Also, he’s undeniably talented. His wealth is insane (he once cut up a Chanel bag for a video), and people seem to enjoy the voyeuristic displays of wealth shown in his videos. They also enjoy his products, which I’ve heard are excellent. But, I won’t buy one.[pullquote]Does a person who continuously makes racist and misogynistic remarks deserve this coverage and success?[/pullquote]
Jeffree Star has a long history of racism, and I don’t understand why the beauty community keeps giving him passes for it. A tough life is not a license for racism or misogyny. As early as 2006 Jeffree Star has been recorded spouting racial and misogynistic abuse, from calling a black woman a ‘stupid ape’, repeated use of the N word and ‘joking’ with a woman about using battery acid to ‘lighten her skin one’. He has made classist and stereotypical ‘jokes’ such as ‘I win by having diamond rims, and you win by being a poor Mexican’. He’s also called multiple women sluts and other misogynistic words, as well as the abominable C-word.
Is anyone’s past spotless? No. But, it takes a certain type of person to feel comfortable attacking people in the way Jeffree Star does. I believe in personal growth, but I also believe in there being consequences for your actions, and Jeffree Star has received very little backlash for his. As recently as two weeks ago he was exposed as saying to his ex-hairdresser ‘Are you done posting that gorilla?’ in reference to successful Youtuber Jackie Aina. This series of text messages, dated in the year of 2017, show Jeffree hasn’t changed that much, despite his apologies in the years before those texts.
Beauty Bay and countless other popular makeup sites still feature Jeffree Star’s products, often on their homepages. And does a person who continuously makes racist and misogynistic remarks deserve this coverage and success? Personally, I don’t think so. I think there are so many make up brands and options today that it is very easy to shop ethically. You’ll have people who won’t shop with MAC because they test on animals in China, but are quite happy to spend a paycheck on Jeffree Star cosmetics. Marginalized groups deserve that same integrity and more. I hope that Jeffree Star heals from whatever issues are causing him to be so hateful, but with racist remarks being made as recently as 2017, I don’t understand why we are still supporting his brand. In the words of Jackie Aina ‘"Let’s stop making exceptions for people just because we like the way they blend eyeshadow. I hope moving forward, we can do better and focus on making room for those with responsible voices and positive platforms.”