Estée Lauder Korea posts apology for 'Asian skin tone' note
New York-based cosmetics giant Estée Lauder’s local branch made its first public apology on social media Tuesday regarding a recent controversy that gave rise to accusations of racism over the weekend.
On Estée Lauder Korea’s official Instagram account, the company posted a letter that opened with “We sincerely apologize to all our customers.”
Estée Lauder came under fire over the weekend after a customer claimed the company shipped her the wrong color foundation with a note saying that the one she had ordered "does not go well with Asian skin tone." The note added that it picked out a color that is a "better fit for our Asian customers," since the customer could not test out the product in store.
“We are truly sorry for all the customers that received the wrong color foundation as well as that specific message,” said Estée Lauder Korea in the Instagram post on Tuesday. “This does not accord with the beauty of every female customer that we deeply respect, or the company values.”
“All of our employees are taking this incident very seriously. Besides those who bought the product, we extend our apologies to all of the other consumers who expected more from us.”
The makeup company added that it will enhance internal training in order to prevent such an incident from recurring.
The anonymous customer had posted a review Sunday on the e-commerce site 11st regarding the incident. The unidentified individual added a photo of the printed note that came with the foundation, presumably added by an Estée Lauder employee.
The customer shared a picture of the note online to warn others who were “considering purchasing products” from the company.
The typed note included with the product was unsigned, and it's still unclear who wrote and included the note and whether other customers also received it.
The product in question was a giveaway powder-type foundation that came with Estée Lauder's Double Wear liquid foundation. Customers were allowed to choose the color. It was sold from an Estée Lauder physical store in Shinsegae Department Store’s Gangnam branch in southern Seoul and made available through 11st, according to a spokesperson from the department store.
Amid mounting criticism online, Estée Lauder took down the product from the website, a spokesperson from 11st said.
11st and Shinsegae Department Store refused to comment on the matter, saying that they only provide the online and offline platforms through which the product is sold.
BY LEE JEE-YOUNG, KANG JAE-EUN, CHU IN-YOUNG [email@example.com]