Do you stan a racist?
Over the past couple of years, racist tweets, videos, and makeup lines have surfaced all over Twitter. Some of the biggest names in the Youtube makeup community have had their racist past revealed for millions of people to retweet and comment on. The social media blunder that I have chosen is Jeffree Star and his violently racist past.
Jeffree Star is one of the most affluent makeup gurus on Youtube. But in the early 2000s Jeffree created a makeup brand inspired by Nazis. The NaziMakeup included Swastikas, razors blades, and barbed wire branding. After fans had found the NaziMakeup, Jeffree released an apology statement saying “it was very narcissistic and I was just going to have the website be a bunch of f*cking crazy pictures of me. So the term ‘lipstick Nazi’ is disgusting and I just want people to know, looking at me, its wrong and I should never have used it” after his apology he then went back to making millions off of his makeup videos and makeup line.
Some might think that the Nazi-inspired makeup is the worst part of his social media blunder but unfortunately it is not. Later in the 2000s Jeffree Stars, racist and predatory tweets surfaced. Some of his tweets proclaimed that he wanted to throw battery acid on a black drag queen to make her skin match her foundation, he frequently uses the N-word, chased a group of black girls while shouting the N-word at them, and referred to a black makeup artist as an ape.
The first guideline that is recognized is the need to be “Fair and Prudent”. While Jeffree posts his racist views. There is a group of people who he is attacking and offending.
The second ethical guideline is “Avoiding Deception” Jeffree did release an apology video for his racist makeup line and derogatory tweets. His apology was just a deception to his fans because there is no change in his behaviour. Racist tweet after tweet and racist video would appear and the same apology would surface from him.
The third guideline is “Maintain Dignity and respect” Jeffree did not care to respect the group of people that he was aiming hurt. To continue, his apologies are made to sound respectful and dignified but they seemed fake and curated.
The fourth guideline is “Eschew Secrecy” this guideline does not apply to the Jeffree star situation because there were no trade/company secrets that were being kept secret.
The fifth guideline is “Is it Reversible?” If I were on the receiving end of the message, I would feel extremely angry and hurt. The things that Jeffree as tweeted and publicly said are extremely unethical and hateful. I believe that a large majority of his fans did forgive him but there is a small portion that doesn’t accept his apology.
The sixth guideline is “Be Transparent” Jeffree star was somewhat transparent about tweets, videos, and makeup lines but only after he was exposed and after many years.
The seventh guideline is “Clear Identification” Jeffree did release an apology video for his racist tweets and the racist makeup line. Unfortunately for Jeffree, his racist past is available for anyone to see at any time.
The eighth guideline is “Rational Analysis” it would be very difficult to see anything from a different perspective because Jeffrees attacks were very personal. There would be no one to misconstrue his words because he was filmed and it was his twitter page that he was controlling.
The ninth guideline is “Emphasize Clarity” in this case there was no sponsorship.
The tenth guideline is “Disclose” there wasn’t a clear reason why Jeffree made the decisions to harass and threaten people of colour except that he claims it was because he was young but he was actually an adult.
The eleventh guideline is “Verify sources and data” in this social media blunder there was no rumor or speculation of the truth since there was a plethora of evidence.
The twelfth guideline is “Establish Responsibility” Jeffree did come forward and accept responsibility but he did so after he was exposed. He also only accepted responsibility because he was losing followers.
The thirteenth guideline is “Examine Intention” Jeffree did not apologize because of goodwill. He issued his apology because he didn’t want his image to be tarnished as this would lead to him losing money, followers, and sponsorships.
The fourteenth guideline is “Encourage the good” I think the good that the message encouraged is that people who supported him now know what he is truly like. Jeffree tried to encourage his fans to believe that he has changed and many of his followers accepted his apology but some fans rejected his apology.
The fifteenth guideline is “Consistency Builds Trust” Jeffree has not continued with his racist remarks but he has continued to utter degrading comments and bash brands and people. I am personally not a Jeffree fan but his followers enjoy his content consistency.
After analyzing the social media blunder and the 15 guidelines, I don’t believe that Jeffree Star has made any progress in being a better person. I think that he is upset that he lost followers and brand deals but I believe that he stands true to what be believe back in the early 2000s. Lastly, without the past tweets and videos surfacing Jeffree would have never apologized and would possibly still believe that what he said was not inappropriate because he would not have been caught and exposed.
Bowen, S. (2013). Using classic social media cases to distill ethical guidelines for digital engagement. Journal of Mass Media Ethics, 28, 119–133.