YouTuber Amanda Ensing is suing beauty retailer Sephora along with its chief marketing officer Deborah Yeh for defamation after the company said she made light of “violence and tragic loss of life” at the Capitol back in February 2021.
Through the suit, the conservative beauty influencer is seeking monetary damages that will be determined by a trial, according to reports.
The complaint was filed after Sephora chose to end their relationship with Ensing, following the criticism she faced for her controversial remarks on Twitter regarding the Capitol insurrection.
Ensing’s team of attorneys are claiming that Sephora “made false and defamatory statements” about Ensing online, which exposed the influencer to “public hatred, ridicule, and contempt.” The complaint also states that Yeh sent an email to all Sephora staff and made “false and defamatory statements” regarding the situation.
Sephora’s move to pull the partnership with Ensing came after a series of events. First, Ensing had uploaded a YouTube video promoting skincare items sponsored by Sephora through influencer-based company rewardStyle. The video received major backlash, with some taking it to social media to write #BoycottSephora. This prompted the retailer to terminate its relationship with Ensing.
Ensing was also criticized for supporting Donald J. Trump, for “blackfishing” and her comments regarding the Capitol riot – an incidence that led to at least five deaths and various injuries.
“There’s not enough popcorn in the world for what’s about to happen,” said Ensing in a tweet. “The left: I hate it here. America is embarrassing. Only we can riot & loot. Defund the police. Just do what the government tells you & don’t ask questions. The right: Let’s fight for freedom. We love the USA. Defend the Constitution. We support our Military & Law enforcement.”
She then followed up with tweets regarding corruption around our government and that it would soon be “revealed.” These tweets have since been deleted as Ensing’s account has been suspended.
In an interview with Glossy regarding the matter, Unsah Malik, a social media and influencer strategist, said: “Brands should already be strict with who they work with. If they’re not, they’re already 10 steps behind. This is from both an ethical point of view and for general success with influencer or affiliate marketing.”
When Sephora was made aware of the influencer’s controversial comments, the beauty retailer responded to PRNEWS with the following:
“We were recently made aware of concerning behavior by Ms. Ensing on her social platforms. Most recently, she made light of the violence and tragic loss of life at our nation’s Capitol last month. For this reason, we made the decision to cease all programming with her indefinitely, including having the video she created through an external vendor, taken down. Any claim that this decision was made on the basis of political or religious beliefs is inaccurate, we respect each individual’s right to have their own perspectives and freedom of expression. However, Sephora reserves the right to terminate any partnership we deem inappropriate for our brand.
Ms. Ensing has also suggested that Sephora has attempted to silence her, which is not accurate. Sephora has not had any direct contact with Amanda or her legal team. Her contract, including but not limited to terms of payment and disclosure protocols are all handled by RewardStyle, a partner of Sephora. We take this seriously and are working to ensure all future influencer outreach, content and partnerships are subjected to tighter controls.
At Sephora, we have made a commitment to build a beauty community that is welcoming, considerate, respectful and inclusive for all. These values will continue to guide every decision we make.”
Ensing’s lawsuit alleges that Sephora defamed her through its shared statements across all of its distribution channels, mainly Instagram, which has over 20 million followers.
She also argues that the statements made by Sephora have resulted in “severe, sustained, and aggressive abuse online that made news on several internet media sites, further spreading the false and defamatory statements.”
Furthermore, Ensing is accusing Sephora of committing false light invasion of privacy, interference with economic advantage, and conspiracy for imputing hate speech that is “contrary to the company’s inclusion and diversity policies.”