MAC’s PR team strikes back. Sort of.

Yesterday morning I presented the case of MAC Cosmetics’ ongoing social media backlash. Not familiar with what’s going on with the popular Estee Lauder brand?  Here’s a brief recap:

  1. Mac posted the photo at the right on Wednesday night of this week.  The caption read

    MAC Cosmetics Instagram

    “Royal Romance @ohnetitelny #AW16. #MACBackstage #NYFW”. For those who don’t speak in hashtags, Royal Romance is referring to one of MAC’s lipstick colors (Matte Royal), the model was backstage at the Ohne Titel fashion show during New York’s Fashion Week.

  2. By Thursday morning,  the cosmetic company’s Instagram post was lit up with public comments, and it wasn’t all good.  Racial slurs and heated racial arguments overshadowed people who were trying to refocus the attention on how beautiful the model was, or how much they liked the lip color.  Didn’t work.  The “N” word made an appearance on more than one post.
  3. Because MAC Cosmetics’ mission is to create a high-quality product for “All Ages. All Races. All Sexes.” they removed a few of the more horrible posts, but let the rest play out.
  4. As of Friday, there still was no official response from MAC.


That’s where we left off.  And here’s what’s been developing in the past day.

  • The model above, posted a response to the haters :”Maryse Kye, the 19-year-old model in the photo, took to her own Instagram account to respond to the comments, both positive and negative, on Thursday.’As I read the comments below this picture Felt so insecure and a bit embarrassed as I just wrapped up fashion week a time period that is tough on models especially black models as we encounter the harsh reality of the fashion world,” she says. “But I kept reading (not sure why tbh) and saw so much love and support from strangers that made me smile :).'” – Madelyn Chung, Huffington Post.

But, wait a minute.  Turns out Maryse Kye wasn’t the model after all depicted in the photo. Kye recanted on Instagram, taking note to name the true model: Aamito Stacie Lagum

  • Friday, a spokesperson for MAC finally made a public statement:

MAC stands for and respects All Ages, All Races, All Sexes. We do not tolerate any                   abusive comments in our community.” – Tanya Dua, Digiday

According to Digiday’s Tanya Dua, MAC’s Instagram bio said basically the same.

I verified this, and found an additional Instagram post from MAC:


70,300 likes and most comments showed support for the cosmetic brand’s pain.  There were still a few haters, but the comments had absolutely nothing to do with the topic at all.  If you’re curious, you can see for yourself.

  • Beyond Instagram, others are starting to notice.  Here are just a couple comments about MAC’s public relations tactics on Facebook:





MAC Cosmetics is taking the heat from a seemingly innocent post about the color of lipstick, which turned into a public argument about race.

Thus far, MAC has yet to respond further than reciting their motto (over and over again), and removing only the most abusive comments from their Instagram, leaving other posts.

Up for (further) Discussion:

  1. Do you think that MAC’s public relations tactics regarding this particular situation is getting the job done?

If yes, how do you see this playing out?

If no, what would you do differently?

All respectful and constructive comments welcome and needed.






  1. sarrhi · February 21, 2016

    Copying and pasting their robotic response is definitely not the way to go. If they’re going to try and reinforce their message, they should at least write it in a different way… it’s pretty obvious they’ve copied and pasted on the comments. They could have even followed the example of Adidas, who shut down homophobic comments on their Instagram last week by addressing the users in question directly. That caught the media’s attention and worked in their favour.
    Great post btw!


    • cajkinney · February 21, 2016

      Thank you, and so agreed. Especially when MAC copy and pasted so many times on both Instagram and Facebook. Great example of comparison, using Adidas. Thanks so much for your comment.

      Liked by 1 person

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