Skip to main content

Estée Lauder’s John Demsey Apologizes for ‘Racist Meme’

Demsey posted an apology to his Instagram account on Friday.

John Demsey has posted a public apology to his Instagram account several days after being suspended from his job at the Estée Lauder Cos.

Demsey was suspended after he posted a meme to Instagram that contained a racial slur and a joke about COVID-19. On Friday, he posted an apology to Instagram that read:

“I am terribly sorry and deeply ashamed that I hurt so many people when I made the horrible mistake of carelessly reposting a racist meme without reading it beforehand. There are not enough words to express my remorse and sorrow.

“Not only did I hurt many people whom I respect, the terrible mistake that I made has undermined everything I have been working for since I began my career 31 years ago. The meme is the furthest thing from what I stand for and I should have never reposted it. I am so sorry that I let down the company that I have dedicated my life’s work to as well as its employees, artists, friends and colleagues. I hope that in time people will judge me, not for this awful mistake, but for my lifetime of words and actions, which demonstrate my respect for all people.”

Demsey, who has been an executive vice president at Lauder since 2015, was suspended this week following the Instagram post. An internal memo obtained by WWD said he was “being placed on unpaid leave due to the content posted on his Instagram handle.”

You May Also Like


Estée Lauder’s John Demsey on Unpaid Leave Following Instagram Post

New CEO of L’Oréal U.S.A. Named