“Celebutard” lipstick- Hey Sephora…

Hey Sephora,

Up until a year or so ago, you’d never find me at a department store buying makeup. I was a proud drugstore make up wearer. I also had really bad skin that was only getting worse. When I switched to Sephora products, not only did my face clear up, but my make up stayed in place and, on the days I wear makeup, I look like I could almost pass for a human. It’s good stuff.

I like the makeup, which is why I’m sad to say that I will not be shopping at your stores anymore.  You got Kat Von D. to create an edgy line of products for you. I get it. She’s a beautiful celebrity that doesn’t look like all the rest. It’s appealing. However, the name of one of your lipsticks goes beyond edgy- it’s distasteful and hurtful.


Celebutard lipstick, an UGLY name for a 'beauty' product.
screen shot from sephora.com

Who were you aiming this at? From what I understand, the name pokes fun at “unintelligent celebrities” by mashing up “celebrity” and “retard.”  It’s offensive, and not just to celebrities whose intelligence you are putting into question by using a term that once was used to describe people with intellectual disabilities.

It’s those people and the people who love them who are hurt the worst.  You’re picking on the most vulnerable in our society by using a derogatory term that historically has been used in gross ways to make fun of them. Would you make products that combine the word celebrity with such ugly terms as ‘faggot’ or ‘nigger’? Did your skin just crawl up your arms a little bit when I used those terms? It should. They are disgusting terms and I hated even typing them out. That disgust you feel when you see those words used is the same disgust I feel when I see someone flippantly using the word “retard.” You’ve used one of the ugliest terms in the English language to describe a beauty product. 

This is my daughter. Using the word “retard” stabs at the disability part of my daughter- her intellectual capabilities- only. It’s a word that reduces who she is to what she can’t do. It’s hateful.  It’s a word far too ugly for this beautiful face.

Abby's so pretty

 I’m begging you, change the name of the lipstick. It’s just lipstick. It’s not worth causing people pain. Sure, maybe it’s driving people to your site, but I assure you, most of them are just shaking their heads in disgust.  If you’re using the name of this product for publicity, well, there’s a special place in hell…

An apology would be appropriate as well. Show people like me that you’re not really as out of tune as it seems.

Your products are made to enhance beauty. Why would you name one of them something so ugly?


144 thoughts on ““Celebutard” lipstick- Hey Sephora…

  1. Hmmm, interesting. People don’t go on the war wagon when Sephora uses a celebrity that dresses up in full Nazi regalia but then cries when they use tard at the end of another word. Guess you only react when it hits home. Bullshitters. Your kids are beautiful

    1. I’m a bullshitter but my kids are cute? Cool.

      I agree. I think it’s bullshit that she wore that stuff. Every human can’t fight every fight. Your line of logic here does not work. Of course I’m going after them now. Because it means something to me. Because I was hurt. Because what they did affects my daughter and my autistic son.

      Do you fight against every blog that calls out a company for using hurtful words or just mine?

  2. Interestingly, I was just having an “r” word conversation with some dear friends over the weekend. I was at a beautiful wedding in Southern California with some dear friends from the area. These are friends who are progressive, well-educated, and very openminded. Still, I would say that every single one of them used the “r” word at least onece– when they did something foolish, when they made a mistake, or when they mispoke.

    I said something to my friend from LA and she was completely caught off guard. “It’s not okay to say that? But I’m not talking about someone who actually IS retarded…” Somehow the whole r-word-is-bad thing has not made it’s way to LA– or at least the conversation is not as widespread as it is in other parts of the country. She was very receptive to the conversation and understanding once I explained why the word is considered offensive and derogatory. Still, I have to say I was kind of shocked by how frequently I heard the word used. It was disappointing.

  3. Honestly, yes I agree its not nice to call anyone dumb or “retarded” in this case but am I the only one getting really really tired of people taking offence to EVERYTHING nowadays? Is the company calling your kid with Autism or ADHD or whichever mental disability this name? No. Its a tube of lipstick. Don’t like it, dont buy it. Don’t act like the company should apologize to your children or cousin or best friend who may or may not even know this exists let alone take it personal. If they were putting a name to it like “Jessica Smith is a ‘Celebutard’ ” or whichever…great, let that person be offended or do something. Find things like Environmental issues or legalizing human rights that still arent up to par (ie: Gay marriage being illegal or women being treated like garbage in foreign countries)–Not Lipstick names–to get offended about. I just wish sometimes people could focus a little more on what matters and get over the “name calling hurts” jargon with something so rediculous. I’ve been called names and suffered with my own mental illness and you know what? Even if a family member called me a retard for having depression…even with depression I know to get over it.

    1. I think you may be missing the point here. I agree that we need to choose our battles and I completely understand your frustration with people who are prone to take offense at “everything” but I do not think that is the case here.

      Just like it is crass to call a man who does something foolish or feminine a “fag” it’s not okay to call a celebrity who isn’t terribly bright a “tard.” I know we hear this kind of talk in our day-to-day and it’s not okay, but when it comes from a company selling an item that is labeled with this kind of derogatory word it’s important to say something.

      Just like most people would be upset if the lipstick was called “celebrifaggot” people are upset about the use of “Celebutard” in this case. I think that “retard” is one of those words that we will look at in 10 years and be embarrassed that so many of us used it or put up with the use of it. Just like the “n” word. It’s time we stopped making excuses in the name of not being too sensitve.

    2. Well, words shape attitudes and attitudes shape behavior. So yeah, words matter to greater causes.

      I can’t imagine that the fight for equality and civil rights for African Americans would get as far if, as a whole of society, using the N-word was completely acceptable and those expressing dislike for it where dismissed as too sensitive. Please take this argument of “stop being so sensitive” with the respective slurs to members of the black community or homosexual community or to the Jewish people and let us know how that goes.

  4. I received an email from Sephora this morning that they have taken this item off their website (which I verified) and are pulling it from shelves. They said, “They apologize if the name offended me.” Not quite the apology I was seeking, but at least the product is gone.

  5. Thank you for bringing this out into the open. First let me say your daughter is simply the cutest. She is truly beautiful. As a mom to a 4 yo little girl with both physical and cognitive disabilities I was utterly outraged that a company i relied on for so long to hide these bags under my eyes and the lines of worry I now have could be so out of touch. I know it’s a rare day that I get to put on makeup or do my hair at all but when I do it has been with products loyaly bought at Sephora. Not anymore. I have written to them as well to voice my compaint, let them know we have broken up and suggest that perhaps they use this a moment to help educate America on why this word is so wrong. thank you again for posting this.

  6. Perfectly said.

    Though, I think Kat Von D/ her company are more at fault here than Sephora. They manufactured it, and chose a name.

  7. I totally agree but I think it should also be addressed to Kat Von D. Chances are she came up with the name. Sephora should definitely pull the lipstick.

  8. I emailed Sephora about this with a complaint – they’ve replied that they’re pulling this from the shelves and ceasing to sell it online.

  9. You need to get more angry at the manufacturer than the retail store. Yes Sephora sold the product, but they didn’t create it. Kat von D’s makeup brand did. So while Sephora is doing the right thing for not selling it anymore, you should go after Kat von D since they came up with the product and the horrible name in the first place. Sephora is at fault for selling it, but they have been selling the brand for years so they just continued releasing new products as usual.

  10. How tasteless of Kat Von D and of Sephora to happily stock the product. yikes.

    Also, your daughter is beautiful

  11. I shop on Sephora.com and this screen shot is doctored. None of the colors available have that name. That particular color is Agatha – mod peachy pink. We have a Sephora store as well. That name is not on an Kat Von D products.

  12. My son (10) saw the picture of your daughter. He said, “OH MY GOSH. That is seriously the cutest little girl I have seen in my entire life!”

    Just thought you should know!

  13. Success! They are pulling the lipstick. They still should issue an apology and make a donation to programs working with those with developmental delays but it’s something!

  14. Your daughter is so precious and beautiful. Funny, as I read this I have an online cart full of Christmas gifts from Sephora – was just about to find my credit card to check out. Hold on while I press a simple ‘X’ in the corner to close the page. Count this Sephora customer out as well. Disgusted.

  15. Who cares about this lipstick, any lipstick or make up. This child in the picture is absolutely beautiful inside and out. Let raise all our girls to know that its “make up” not” beauty up” And yes the name of the Lipstick is very insulting to any human

  16. Thank you for sticking up for not only your daughter (who is adorable by the way) but for all of the people who are hurt and feel pain by name calling and bullying! I am so disappointed in Sephora and I am very frequent customer so in my opinion it’s not only distaste fully named but it’s embarrassing. As a company why would you want to do something to to make people want to shop somewhere else?

  17. I have to admit – even though I am a parent of a gorgeous 12 year old daughter with DS – when I saw this lip stick written up in some magazine – maybe in INSTYLE or something – my thought was a play on the word “leotard” – don’t know why – never occurred to me that is would be so horrendous! Fuming in NC

  18. Is the lipstick smooth, fitting looking like a leotard., Do any of you eat custard, that sweet yellowish dessert? How about mustard? I was into gymnastics and figureskating and wore leotards and I buy them for my daughters who dance. Then there is Dr. Who and he travels in the tardis…An object or item with tard in it is acceptable.

    1. Do you HONESTLY believe she’s using the term “celebutard” to combine “celebrity” and “leotard”?!

      She’s not the person that coined this term. It’s out there, and I assure you, she’s not making commentary on celebrities who wear leotards.

  19. I contacted customer service as well. Regardless of whether it has been pulled or not, I believe an apology from BOTH Sephora and Kat von D’s company are necessary. It should not have been produced in the first place and it was irresponsible for Sephora to carry an item with such a controversial and offensive name.

  20. Hey….lighten up. I agree when that term is used as a degradation towards a person it is awful. However, people are taking it personally, and shouldn’t. Lets talk your ignition timing on your car. Or…lets talk about slowing something…anything down. Engines, electrical motors (servos and VFD controls). Lighten up. This word and other assumed words of offense are used daily to communicate. Teach your children some resilience and understanding/knowledge of the word. And It is after all, just a word. Sticks and stones…..

  21. Kat Von D is a line of makeup sold by Sephora…not owned by Sephora…just like Forever Makeup or Dior…it’s a brand. I don’t think you should be criticizing Sephora for a name of a makeup product that was probably not even produced or named by Sephora in the first place.
    If you’re looking for an apology and to boycott a product, boycott and request an apology from Kat Von D and her makeup line.

  22. If you name a lipstick after this beautiful angelic baby, I will buy stock in it. She is truly the face of true deep down beauty, I will not purchase any more Sephora products until they axe that lipstick and while they are at it, they should axe Kat Von D, she isn’t a face for beauty, she is a face for a home wrecking selfish disgrace.

  23. Yes it was in poor taste and sephora pulled it. I’m sure Kat will issue an official apology. She didn’t have cruel intentions when she named it. She was just ignorant to the negative stigma attached to the word. Now she knows so let’s all move on and stop villainizing her and stop boycotting sephora.

  24. My name is Doug, but for some reason my email is Jeremysivadon@gmail.com.

    I wrote a comment here that was just downright dickish. So it got edited.

    I also want you to know that I once had a long term affair with a moose before I realized it was just a small donkey wearing Christmas antlers. Turns out Washington state law isn’t as stringent on bestiality as you might expect. Because we’re America, dammit!

  25. It worked. Sephora responded appropriately, and who knows – maybe even Kat learned something.

  26. I think it is AMAZING to see the Love and Support that has happened here. And because of the courage of one woman out of the love for her daughter, and other’s like her, Stood up for what she believed and made a HUGE DIFFERENCE !!!! Sephora no longer stands behind the product and has dropped the product. It is people like this that makes a difference in the world we live in. Lastly, Due to all the supporter’s and comments of the world that stood behind her is the reason it happen so fast…. LUVN IT !!!!!!

  27. Looks like it’s been pulled from the web site. No apology on the website though. Hey Sephora and Kat, an apology would go a long way!

  28. Are you KIDDING me?! How asinine. I’m glad they’ve pulled it, but I’d like to see them address this publicly.

  29. I am very proud of you for writing this! I also think you are strong and courageous. Your little girl is gorgeous!

  30. Just thought this should be shared. I emailed them about this lipstick and this is what they wrote back:

    Dear Maci,

    Thank you for contacting Sephora.com.

    We sincerely apologize if you found the name of the Kat Von D lipstick offensive or inappropriate. We appreciate the time you have taken to express your concern.

    We will be ceasing the sale of this lipstick shade both in stores and online.

    Thank you again for contacting us.


    Jessica Sephora Client Services

  31. I work every day with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This is a disgrace. I’ve never shopped at Sephora, and now never will. I work part time for another make up line (Merle Norman). Her products are fabulous and would never offend so disgracefully

  32. There are a lot of comments on this post.

    Isn’t it kind of ironic, the name she chose? She’s kind of an idiot celebrity, herself, is she not?

  33. what an absolutely beautiful girl!

    I think it’s rude snd hurtful to use words like this when those words are connected to anything that is unavoidable. a black person can not change the color of their skin. a gay person can not change who they are. someone with intellectual challenges can not help it. so they should be of limited. that shouldnt be a hard rule to follow in life, it should be common courtesy. laugh and poke fun at other things not people for things they can’t help.

    and yes I blame the sellers, sephora and anyone else that did not have the balls to speak up at this idea and know that it was wrong at first pitch

  34. The use of any word being used as a negative label for a human being is horrible! This includes all negative lables! What’s wrong with people? They most likely were raised where the “adults” used the words? Wrong! I was raised where I heard a lot of these derogatory lables on a daily basis but I refuse to use any of them and I’m offended anytime I hear them!

  35. I just send sephora a piece of my mind. I don’t even shop there but this kind of stuff angers and disappoints me. Everyone offended by this should send them a note. This is just not okay.

    I just heard about your Kat Von D line and I have to say I am appalled and saddened by the use of the title of the lipstick “celebutard”. As a special education teacher I work with students of a variety of disabilities. They have a hard enough time working through their struggles that name calling doesn’t need to be added to that. Unfortunately, kids can be mean and there have been numerous times I have had to console a student who was been called hurtful degrading names. As adults it is up to us to set an example for our children. If we say it is okay to use hurtful terminology towards others that is what we will get. People with disabilities deserved just as much respect and compassion as a person without a disability. They have enough to overcome and struggle with lets support them and encourage them NOT disrespect and degrade them!!!

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