Last night, my roommate and I were watching the news. Following the local stories and weather forecast was a story about Sephora’s ‘Celebutard’ lipstick. I had never heard of it. However, this beige-colored lipstick from Kat Von D’s Painted Love Lipstick line was yanked from Sephora’s shelves after the makeup store was bombarded with backlash. Organizations that openly disagreed with the lipstick included Down Syndrome Uprising and All About Developmental Disabilities. Sephora was hesitant to respond to the public, but eventually had this to say:

“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.”

Meanwhile, Kat Von D had this to say via Twitter before deleting the message:

“At the end of the day, it’s just a f**king lipstick”

I also found a comment by ‘crimson petal’ at the bottom of the article. I’m posting the entirety of this individual’s opinion (with my ‘favorite’ lines in bold) because it is soooooo relevant to class:

“I’m disappointed with Sephora for caving in to this. Firstly, this lipstick has been out for well over a year…probably more. Why now? I’ve wanted it a long time but just never remembered to throw it in my basket. I understand that it may be offensive to some however this is just silly. The name had nothing to do with disabled or “challenged” individuals or whatever they want to be called. It was meant as a commentary on celebrities we see in the news everyday. As Kat said – it’s just a lipstick. What frightens me is that when a group of people launch a concentrated effort to remove something or change something that they feel is objectionable. Then nothing is safe. Freedom of speech is compromised. I’m familiar with the “campaign” these people launched…and it wasn’t pretty. They took to every makeup website, blog…anywhere where they could sign up and left sometimes inappropriate comments, and disrupted business. What would have been wrong with expressing their unhappiness like sane adults? I’m all for equal rights for everyone, but bullying companies and individuals because your are offended over something is as bad as the “offense” itself.”

Did the name really have ‘nothing’ to do with challenged individuals? Crimson petal seems to think so, which is funny because he/she immediately goes on to write that the purpose of the product’s name was to infer that celebrities are mentally challenged. And was the response of the party against ‘Celebutard’ immature? After all, Kat Von D is the one who took to Twitter and dropped the F-bomb…..

The article indicated that, despite the tremendously negative criticism surrounding the product, Amazon.com was continuing to sell ‘Celebutard’. However, I cannot find it on the website. This article was written just two days ago. Something tells me that Amazon must have quickly caught up to speed with Sephora and pulled the product, as well.



5 thoughts on “‘Celebutard’

  1. The situation all comes down to the power of a name. The definition of “retard” is to slow down the development or progress of something. Unfortunately over time, the word has been used very loosely and as an insult to one’s intelligence. I remember just the other day, this college student called his friend “retarded” because his friend couldn’t remember what the size of a molecule was. That’s apparently common knowledge, but that’s beside the point. Using the term as an insult is so common and integrated into our society, that people like crimson petal don’t see it as a problem associated with disabled people.
    Like you said, crimson petal’s argument is funny and makes no sense whatsoever. She’s okay with the product name because it’s calling celebrities a “retard,” but she doesn’t understand that usage of that word (or even part of it) just reinforces the negativity of it. And if it’s “just a f**king lipstick,” then I don’t see the problem in just changing the name of it to something else. I looked up the other names Kat Von D uses for her lipstick line out of curiosity. There were names like Stiletto, A Go-Go, and Backstage Bambi. Really? I’m pretty sure she can come up with something else in less than a minute.

  2. I’ve read about this issue in couple of different sites and I must agree, the name is completely offensive and despite what Kat Von D claims, I’m sure it was intentional. There are many products within the cosmetic industry that rely on shocking and vulgar names in order to attract consumers. Take NARS cosmetics for example, they have products called “Orgasm” and “Deep Throat”. Of course, these names are offensive but they’re relatively popular amongst consumers because of their shock factor. The name has everything to do with a product because it’s the first thing that draws consumers in. I’m not going to lie, I actually own those two products and the only reason I actually noticed them in the first place was because the name was just completely outrageous but then the actual product drew me in. Call me the typical gullible consumer but it is what it is. It does interest me that this product has just recently received headline and controversy because it’s actually been out for a while. From what I’ve noticed, that color was pretty popular because it was always sold out whenever I checked. I believe that Kat’s intent was to shock her consumers and draw them in with the name. I believe Kat was completely aware of the offensive nature of the word “retard” but used it to her advantage because she knew the financial gains she would receive. Though NARS have offensive names for their products, I’ve never seen any product names that deliberately attacked a group of people. Also, I agree with aqtran about how the word “retard” is becoming normalized within society. As I looked on at different sites and blogs about this issue, there seemed to be a lot of support for the name and condemnation of disability awareness groups for being too “sensitive”. It shocks me that people can’t understand the offensive nature of the word and how inappropriate it is to market a product using that word. It’s not about sensitivity, it’s about right and wrong and what Kat Von D did was completely wrong.

  3. My first thought is this: how can anyone be not offended by the name? If this was intentionally to make a commentary about celebrities, then celebrities can get offended. I am sure there are plenty of celebrities who are actually smart and sensible. If this was not intentionally making fun of celebrities, the public would be offended. No matter what, this name will offend someone, so I do not know how the makers cannot see how offensive it is. I get offended when I see name like that for my makeup. Yes, it catches our eyes, but I go by the color of the lipstick. I think a lot of people still use the word “retard” because they do not know the impact of those words. They use it because they are uninformed about the history of that word. Its a word commonly used by a lot of people and they use it without a second thought.

  4. Even though some, like Kat Von D, can think “it’s just a name,” considering the power of name, as aqtran said, it was really inconsiderate of Kat and her staffs to name their product with such an offensive term. Considering that the product was out in the market over a year, the reaction of the disability organizations may seem exaggerated and nonsense; however, they should have been mindful of how others may perceive the term because there are variety of perspectives that can be very different from theirs. I think it would have been only right if they respected the view points of others as much as possible. And again as aqtran said why not change the name of the product? I mean changing the name of a product can be quite devastating but if the product is so popular, I think they could have made it more successful by renaming it with something disability-friendly maybe?

  5. My favorite part has to be crimson petal asking “What would have been wrong with expressing their unhappiness like sane adults?” I mean really, lets think about that statement for a minute. If the “they” crimson refers to are the mentally disabled who would be offended they really need to think about what they are posting on the internet. Honestly I do not see the lipstick name as any sort of commentary on celebrities, AI don’t think it’s ironic, it’s just insensitive.

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