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Conservative beauty fans are boycotting Sephora after the retailer cut ties with a pro-Trump influencer

Amanda Krause   

Conservative beauty fans are boycotting Sephora after the retailer cut ties with a pro-Trump influencer
  • People began boycotting Sephora after it sponsored a video by YouTuber Amanda Ensing.
  • Ensing has faced backlash for praising Trump, blackfishing, and seemingly supporting the Capitol riot.
  • Sephora cut ties with Ensing, telling Insider it will monitor future collaborations more closely.

Sephora is facing backlash after it sponsored a controversial influencer's YouTube video.

On Friday, conservative beauty YouTuber Amanda Ensing uploaded a video promoting skin-care items from the retailer. Sephora sponsored the video through influencer-based company rewardStyle.

People quickly took issue with the sponsorship, as Ensing has been criticized for praising Donald Trump, seemingly supporting the Capitol insurrection in January, blackfishing, and more. Some beauty fans wrote #BoycottSephora on social media and pressed Sephora to cut ties with the influencer.

Sephora responded to the backlash via Twitter and Instagram on Friday night, saying it's ceased working with Ensing after learning about her recent posts.

Ensing's supporters are now taking over the hashtag #BoycottSephora, saying Sephora is discriminating against conservatives. Ensing has also shared a slew of claims against Sephora following the company's statement, though the retailer maintains that these are inaccurate.

Beauty fans originally used the hashtag #BoycottSephora after YouTuber Amanda Ensing shared a video sponsored by the retailer

Ensing noted at the start of her YouTube video - titled "10 Sephora Skin-Care Gems You Need In Your Life!!!" - that she once worked for the retailer and loves Sephora. And in the description, Ensing wrote that the video was sponsored by Sephora, but "as always, all opinions are my own."

Ensing has become increasingly controversial in recent months. She feuded with fellow influencers over her support of Trump, as Teen Vogue reported, with YouTuber Jackie Aina sharing a story of a time she said Ensing made racist remarks. Some people on Twitter, including popular makeup artist Shayla, have also accused Ensing of "blackfishing."

Ensing also faced backlash when she seemingly supported the Capitol insurrection, which led to at least five deaths and multiple injuries.

In a tweet shared on January 6, she wrote: "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."

Ensing has repeatedly defended her political views, as well as her choice to wear a curly hairstyle and tan her skin, saying she's not attempting to look like a different race but instead self-identifies as "mixed" and Latina.

On Twitter and Instagram, people said they'd boycott Sephora over its sponsorship of Ensing following her controversial statements.

In response to the criticism, Sephora told commenters on Instagram and Twitter that it'd no longer work with Ensing.

"Thank you for reaching out and bringing this to our attention," Sephora wrote to numerous people. "We were made aware that Amanda Ensing, an influencer contracted through one of our external vendors' campaigns, recently shared content on social media that is not aligned with Sephora's values around inclusivity."

"As soon as we were informed, we made the decision to cease all programming with Amanda and will not be engaging her for future partnerships," the statement continued.

Representatives for Amanda Ensing and rewardStyle did not respond to Insider's requests for comment.

Now, Ensing and her supporters are criticizing Sephora

On Saturday, Ensing said in a video on Instagram that prior to making the sponsored video, she and her legal team had asked if Sephora "respects" influencers of all religions and political views after reading a specific clause in the contract she was given.

According to a screenshot posted by Ensing, the clause states that Sephora and rewardStyle can terminate the project - and therefore not pay Ensing and require her to remove the video - if she is involved in any situation, past or present, that offends, insults, or causes public scandal.

Ensing said in her video that a Sephora and rewardStyle representative originally told her team that the company doesn't "discriminate against any political or religious group," and that the clause "would only ever be referenced in extreme situations such as violence or hate speech." They also told Ensing they couldn't remove the clause.

Ensing's YouTube video was eventually approved by Sephora and rewardStyle, according to the influencer, though she said rewardStyle reached out and asked her to take it down shortly after it was posted. Ensing said her team was directed to the clause mentioned above when asked for an explanation.

Ensing said in her Instagram video that she didn't feel the clause applied to her because she's "not a violent person."

"I've never condoned violence, never will," she said. "I'm first and foremost a Christian, Jesus is my lord and savior. I'm secondly American, and I'm thirdly Latina. I am not racist, I am not homophobic, I am not a white supremacist, I am not part of some violent group."

A post shared by amanda ensing (@amandaensing)

According to Ensing, she has not been paid by Sephora or rewardStyle for her video. Instead, she said she was offered "a settlement" or payment offer in exchange for her being "silent," and not talking about Sephora or "what has happened."

Ensing said she feels she was "baited into signing this agreement under false hope" that the company wouldn't "discriminate" against her political and religious views. She also said she feels Sephora's response to this situation goes against the company's recent efforts to become more inclusive throughout its business.

In a statement sent to Insider, a Sephora representative said Ensing's suggestion that the brand "has attempted to silence her" is "not accurate."

"Sephora has not had any direct contact with Amanda or her legal team," the representative said. "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."

Ensing said she'll only remove her sponsored video if Sephora and rewardStyle pay her for her work, adding that "this is so much bigger than me getting paid."

"I didn't come from living in a house with not-even-finished floors, eating ramen and McDonald's every day, to where I'm at now to be silenced by big companies when they don't agree with my political views," she added.

Ensing finished the video by promoting her upcoming beauty brand, Make Makeup Great Again, which is "made in the USA" and stands "for the people."

Following her video, conservative beauty fans and supporters of Ensing have taken over the #BoycottSephora hashtag, saying they'll no longer shop with the company if it cuts ties with conservative influencers.

Sephora says it terminated working with Ensing because of her 'concerning behavior,' not her beliefs

A Sephora representative told Insider the company stopped working with Ensing after it was "recently made aware of concerning behavior" from the influencer on social media.

"Most recently, she made light of the violence and tragic loss of life at our nation's Capitol last month," the representative said. "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," the statement continued. "However, Sephora reserves the right to terminate any partnership we deem inappropriate for our brand."

The Sephora representative added that the company is committed to building "a beauty community that is welcoming, considerate, respectful, and inclusive for all."

"These values will continue to guide every decision we make," the representative added.