Photo of black model’s lips spurs racist comments on makeup brand’s Instagram

mac lipstick

Arienne McCracken/Flickr

When beauty turns ugly.

A typical post on MAC cosmetics’ Instagram will average somewhere between 100 to 200 comments. Users mostly wondering how they can copy the look in the photo or tag friends who might like it. But the some 23,0000 comments on a photo shared Thursday turned ugly when racist comments cropped up because of the model’s skin color.

The photo, posted on Wednesday, shows just the nose and mouth of a dark-skinned woman wearing a plum-hued lipstick. Many comments are complimentary, such as “Beautiful. I would love to see more black models in advertising campaigns.”

Royal romance at @ohnetitelny #AW16. #MACBackstage #NYFW

A photo posted by M·A·C Cosmetics (@maccosmetics) on

But there have also been an influx of comments that take issue with her full lips and skin color. (The following screengrab has been edited for offensive language.)

The racist comments got a swift reaction from other commenters: 

MAC/Instagram

A Ugandan model named Aamito Stacie Lagum has identified herself on her Instagram and Twitter as the woman whose lips are in the picture:


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Many commenters on MAC’s Instagram mentioned the reality TV star Kylie Jenner, of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, who has admitted to plumping her lips to make them appear fuller. She’s famous in the beauty space for her large lips, spurring a viral sensation called the #KylieJennerLipChallenge, even sells a lip kit from her cosmetics line. But some critics say Jenner’s appearance is form of cultural appropriation. One person commented on the MAC post on Instagram, for example, “Its funny how they used to mock our lips now they do the absolute most to get them, take the kylie jenner challenge for example #pathetic.”

MAC responded to the controversial post Friday afternoon. In a brief statement sent to the Daily Dot, a spokesperson wrote: “M·A·C stands for and respects All Ages, All Races, All Sexes. We do not tolerate any abusive comments in our community.”

The spokesperson did not address whether or not the racist comments would be deleted.

A few hours later, the official Instagram shared a photo to reiterate its stance.


Photo via Annie McCracken/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Marisa Kabas

Marisa Kabas

Marisa Kabas is a lifestyle reporter and activist. Her work has been published by Fusion, Fast Company, and Today. She’s also served as an editorial campaigns director for Purpose PBC, a social movement incubator.