I’ve talked previously about Kat Von D’s incredibly inappropriate and offensive product shade names. Happily, Sephora and Kat Von D have received a small portion of the backlash that they rightly deserved for their terrible, terrible judgment thanks to a group of advocates who discovered the “Celebutard” lipstick. (Ugh.)

Actress Lauren Potter, best known for playing Becky Jackson on Glee, started the conversation with her tweet to Sephora asking, “Really, Sephora, celebutard? Not cool.” Potter, who has Down Syndrome, triggered a cascade of negative attention by both regular consumers and groups such as All About Developmental Disabilities, which prompted the cosmetics giant to respond.

Sephora pulled the lipstick and issued a statement: “It has come to our attention that the name of one shade
of a lipstick we carry has caused offense to some of our clients and
others. We are deeply sorry for that, and we have ceased sale of that
shade both in our stores and online.”Personally, I’m actually pretty satisfied with Sephora’s apology. It reads as sincere and they took tangible action to correct the problem by refusing the sell the offending product. I do wish that they had included a “And we’ll try hard to not pull crap like this in the future”.Sephora’s response has been totally acceptable, but Kat Von D’s was far less elegant. The tattoo artist tweeted, “At the end of the day, it’s just a fucking lipstick.” This tweet demonstrates a deep and fundamental lack of empathy for individuals with intellectual disabilities and for their friends and families. My older sister has Down Syndrome and I promise that all it takes is a receptive conversation with her for it to become overwhelmingly obvious how harmful slurs like “r*tard” can be. If it’s just a fucking lipstick, why choose a name that is needlessly hurtful?

Furthermore, although I’m happy with Sephora’s decision, I’m not happy with their narrow scope. Hey Sephora, can we get Kat Von D’s “Underage Red” pulled next? …please?

P. S. My sister totally wears lipstick. Just so you know.


1. D. I keep being very tempted by some of her makeup products, but something about them/her always stopped me from getting any. Now I know to definitely skip them! Thanks for the post.


2. The products are pretty good… the persona is not.

3. Um… WTF? How does something like that even make it onto the shelves in the first place? Also, if you’re offended by “Underage Red” you should totally write Sephora an e-mail. Or heck, even a paper letter. Apparently, they’re not savvy enough to weed out offensively named products unless someone complains.

4. I might do that, although I’m not sure that I have the “star power” for it to actually result in change, haha.

5. Thank you for this post! How does this type of shit still get approved for release?! And what little respect I had for Kat Von D is gone now – that tweet was vile.

6. Ugh. Okay, I am well aware of the shitty fact that ableism, among other things like racism, sexism, homophobia, etc., is still around and kicking in 2016. There will probably always be prejudiced assholes like Kat Von D, which really sucks. But how can you be so ignorant that you name a product after an offensive slur? Did they think it’s okay because it wasn’t the full word? Ugh.

7. They didn’t think, period. They didn’t think “hey, I wonder if people with cognitive and developmental disabilities are, you know, PEOPLE, who live in the world and buy cosmetics and everything?” They didn’t think “hm, do you think it’s possible that off-hand, casual pejoratives really make things worse for people, even if the speaker didn’t mean it to be offensive?” They didn’t think “You know, it occurs to me that maybe we’re losing market share from people who know and love folks with developmental and cognitive disabilities, not out of self-righteousness or what we would like to dismiss as political correctness, but because they are heartsick to see people once again having a cheap laugh at their loved ones?”

They just plain didn’t think.

8. Wow, this saddens me. I though KVD was pretty cool, but there is no excuse for that shit whatsoever. You can be ‘edgy’ without being a colossal prick. Underage Red needs to go as well. I don’t know how some stuff like this ever makes it to the shelf.

9. I had actually wondered if you were going to write about this. I had no idea you have a sister with Ds, that’s awesome! Both my goddaughters have Down syndrome and both have been called the r-word before. My older god daughter KNOWS that word has a negative connotation and she’s only 5. The little one (just turned one) has no idea, thank goodness because two teenage girls referred to her as “such a cute little r#tard” at a fast food restaurant a few weeks ago. So yeah. Thanks for getting it. You rock. and say hi to your sister for me!

10. People are awful. 🙁

11. I’ve just started reading your blog and loved it before I saw this… now you are hands down my favorite blogger ever. My younger brother also has down syndrome and I’ve never really liked Kat Von D products but especially after this incident, there is no way in hell I’m going to be buying any of her products. Thanks for blogging about this!