Maureen Kelly, CEO of Tarte Cosmetics posted a TikTok on Tuesday in which he vowed to make the company’s creator program more inclusive after criticism online over the brand’s treatment of a black influencer.
“As the founder and CEO of Tarte, I recognize that we have fallen short on diversity, inclusion and equity in the past,” Kelly said in the video.
Kelly said the company would review its creator program to make sure it’s inclusive and equitable. She added that Tarte would update the show regularly to «reflect changes in the beauty influencer market» and would take immediate action to address any inequality issues on her show.
«We’re also going to be more transparent about how we work with our creators, including how we choose them,» he said in the video. «I think that will not only help creators, but also build trust among the industry as a whole.»
In an email to NBC News, Kelly said Tarte is taking immediate steps to hire a diversity, equity and inclusion specialist, as well as establish a creator advisory group to provide feedback to the brand. She also said the cosmetics company would update its guidelines to ensure creators are treated equally regardless of background.
«The goal of these initiatives is not to make a problem go away, but to start conversations that can lead to a better solution,» Kelly said. «I want to express my gratitude to those who shared their opinions and comments online. I want to assure you that I took this very seriously. Your feedback helped me understand the most important issue and work with my team to ensure that we immediately rectify the situation to start the process of restoring trust in Tarte.
The goal of these initiatives is not to make a problem go away, but to start conversations that can lead to a better solution.
-Maureen Kelly, CEO of Tarte Cosmetics
The most recent backlash against Tarte began after influencer Bria Jones posted a now-deleted TikTok on May 4. In the video of her, Jones shared that she was pulling out of the trip from Tarte to Miami for the Grand Prix, which took place this past weekend. her because she felt that she was being treated differently than other influential people who were going on the trip.
«I would love to take a trip to Tarte and trust me I’m so grateful,» Jones said in the video. «But I have more integrity than coming all the way to Miami and realizing they treat me like a second-tier person.»
Jones said his flight home from Miami was scheduled for May 6, even though the race would take place on May 7. Instead, he said, all of his friends were invited to watch the race and were scheduled to leave on May 8.
«I’ve worked too hard to get to where I am today and I will be damned as a black creator if I accept anything more than equal treatment on these trips,» she said in the video.
Jones did not immediately respond to a request for comment. He later made another TikTok saying that the incident was the result of a «miscommunication on both ends.»
«Tarte has done a great job resolving the situation with me,» he said. in the video.
Many viewers felt that Kelly initial response to concerns raised in Jones’ video was dismissive. Kelly had made a video in which she put on makeup and curled her hair while she explained the decisions that were made on the trip to Miami.
«I chose a light-hearted approach to a topic that deserved a serious response,» Kelly said in an email. «Worse yet, I did not directly address the unequal treatment of Black creators within beauty creator shows. First of all, I want to apologize again, publicly this time, to the creator who brought this issue to attention and anyone else who been affected.» .»
Under Kelly’s TikTok on Tuesday, commenters pointed out that the brand has made similar promises in the past.
«Didn’t you say the same thing in 2018…2020…2021?» wrote a commenter.
«Didn’t Tarte do the same thing years ago and claim to hire a DEI person back then? Looks like no effective changes were made,» wrote another.
«tarte made written promises like this YEARS ago… and nothing changed. Why is this any different?» one person wrote.
In January 2018, Tarte apologized after consumers denounced its lack of nuance for darker skin tones in its «Shape Tape» foundation launch. Of the 15 shades included in the product launch, only three suited deeper skin tones.
In June 2020, Tarte revealed that his team was 6% black and his leadership was 5% black. The company committed to increasing black representation at the corporate and leadership levels at the time and vowed to «do better.»