Spokesman Smearing CoverGirl Brand?

When makeup giant CoverGirl added YouTube and Instagram personality James Charles as the brand’s first male ambassador, it was probably expecting lots of good publicity. It did receive recognition for the progressive move, but it didn’t take long for things to go south.

In February, Charles posted a tweet about an upcoming trip to Africa and his worries about getting the Ebola virus, which originated in Africa.

The tweet was immediately slammed As racist and stereotyping. Some fans said they would unfollow Charles on social media and cancel merchandise orders.

Other people contacted CoverGirl to share their displeasure with the new face of the brand. They felt this reflected badly on the makeup company, and some even called for the brand to drop Charles as an ambassador.

Charles issued a initial apology on Twitter, followed up with a lengthy post on Instagram. He talked about his trip to South Africa, and how talking to a group of children there changed his perspective and made him realize the privilege he had.

CoverGirl responded to the criticisms with a series of tweets condemning Charles’ statements, but did not distance the company from the vlogger himself.

Many criticized CoverGirl’s response for failing to take the situation seriously enough and cutting — or at least loosening — their ties to Charles. Some tweets said they would no longer purchase CoverGirl products. The brand also continued to run an online mascara ad featuring Charles, among others like Sofia Vergara and Katy Perry, after the incident.

Do you think CoverGirl should drop James Charles or was his apology enough to move past the incident?

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3 Responses to Spokesman Smearing CoverGirl Brand?

  1. Savanah Garbani says:

    This blog post is a perfect example of the importance of social media. In particular, this article proves the value of a clean and responsible social media presence. I’m curious to know if CoverGirl has a committee in place to vet potential ambassadors. Throughout my time at the Cronkite School and the various internships I’ve held, my online presence has been closely examined. This includes but is not limited to my Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn. It shocks me that a large corporate company like CoverGirl didn’t catch this tweet prior to “electing” him as their first male ambassador. Moving forward, that may be something for them to think about.

  2. Cecilya Moreno says:

    Racism and gender equality are two very important topics that have always raised controversy. Because of this, CoverGirl had a very difficult decision to make. Should they stick to their initial progressive move of hiring the brand’s first male ambassador or should they drop the ambassador for racist remarks despite his apology? Either way, CoverGirl would have received merchandise cancellation threats. I respect CoverGirl’s decision to stand true to their roots of inclusivity by not distancing themselves from James Charles. If they would’ve dropped him after this incident, the message that audiences would’ve received would be that CoverGirl only includes men WHEN/IF their perspectives match directly.

  3. Tamara Juarez says:

    As someone who frequently travels to Central and South American countries that have myriad rampant diseases, I do not see why CoverGirl’s new spokesman was criticized so harshly. It is a legitimate concern that any traveler should have, especially people who have not built up immunity to foreign bacteria. Of course, Ebola is a completely different illness, and one that has no known cure, so it’s not like he could have prepared in any way. All travelers can do is take precautions, and I think that is what James was trying to communicate in his own reckless way. However, he probably shouldn’t have spoken about it on Twitter. Ebola is such as sensitive topic due to its lethal nature, so it’s extremely important for people to be careful about how they speak when addressing this issue, particularly when they represent a brand. Personally, I think every new spokesperson should be require to take a class about the type of behavior that is expected because contracts obviously do not do the trick and most people never read the fine print. I’m not implying that James is one of these people, but it is clear that no one spoke to him about making changes in his social media behavior after becoming the new face of CoverGirl. I don’t think the brand was wrong to stick by him. It was a minor incident.

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