MAC PULLS CONTROVERSIAL COSMETICS LINE
By Selicia Kennedy-Ross
Following a firestorm of bad press, MAC Cosmetics has decided to pull a controversial Mexican-inspired makeup line, a collaboration with the fashion house Rodarte originally set to debut this month.
According to Elleuk.com the upscale cosmetics company has decided to pull the plug on the line last month.
MAC came under fire in July for the planned fall makeup line created by Rodarte and inspired by the people and landscapes of Cuidad Juarez, Mexico. The blogosphere exploded after beauty bloggers and journalists got a glimpse of the new line set to debut in September and its accompanying ad campaign, which appeared to cruelly exploit the region and its people.
Public pressure prompted both the Estee Lauder-owned MAC and Rodarte to issue dual public apologies and rebrand the new fall line by making changes to some of the names in the palette. MAC and Rodarte also announced they would donate all proceeds from the product line to help the impoverished women of the region.
Ultimately, however, the cosmetics giant decided to pull the Juarez-inspired line altogether. Despite the cancellation of the line, MAC officials said the company still intends to donate all of the projected proceeds from the line to the charity initiative in Juarez. The following statement was posted on its Facebook page:
“Out of respect for the people of Mexico, the women and girls of Juarez and their families, as well as our MAC Mexican staff and colleagues, MAC has made the decision not to ship the MAC Rodarte limited edition makeup collection. This decision will have no impact on MAC’s commitment to donate all of its projected global profits from this collection to local and international groups that work to improve the lives of the women and girls of Juarez. We are currently conducting due diligence to ensure we donate to organizations with a proven record of directly supporting the women and girls of Juarez. MAC and Rodarte are deeply and sincerely sorry and we apologize to everyone we offended. We have listened very closely to the feedback of concerned global citizens. We are doing our very best to right this wrong. The essence of MAC is to give back and care for the community and Rodarte is committed to using creativity for positive social change. We are grateful for the opportunity to use what we have learned to raise awareness on this important issue.”
Rodarte designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy contended the line was inspired by the desert landscapes and the women who work factory jobs in the area but many felt the cosmetics line made light of the poverty and violence in Juarez. The region has been the setting for more than 5,700 slayings since 2008 and the violence has escalated recently, largely due to the cartels and the drug wars. Since 1993, the troubled region has also been the site of the brutal murders of at least 500 women, many of whom were raped, mutilated and tortured, their bodies often dumped in shallow graves in the desert. Poverty is prevalent and few employment opportunities are offered aside from the maquiladoras, factories that are fueled 24 hours a day by cheap labor. Each year, these maquiladoras lure thousands of young women with the promise of low-paying jobs with long hours. Many of the Juarez murder victims were women who worked these factory jobs. Given that some of the MAC-Rodarte products carried such monikers as “Bordertown,” “Factory,” “Ghost Town,” “Sleepwalker” and “Juarez” and included an accompanying ad campaign featuring models dressed like corpses, many bloggers felt the line had gone too far.
MAC and Rodarte both drew fire not just from the Latino community but from the general public, especially among the beauty and fashion bloggers and journalists who received the press kits. There was even a list of more than 100 bloggers who noted their concerns about the line. Following the bad press, both MAC and Rodarte initially issued dual statements of apology and announced that $100,000 from the line would be donated to charities to benefit the women of Juarez.
A short time later, MAC announced that ALL proceeds from the line would be used to create a charity initiative to benefit women in Juarez. Representatives from both Rodarte and MAC met with the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs and CONAVIM, the National Commission to Prevent and Eradicate Violence Against Women regarding the charity.