Jeffree Star company Killer Merch took hundreds of thousands of dollars in coronavirus relief loan

Jeffree Star poses for photos at Cosmoprof at BolognaFiere Exhibition Centre on March 17, 2018 in Bologna, Italy.Photo by Rosdiana Ciaravolo/Getty Images
  • Killer Merch LLC, a merchandising company that has worked with internet celebrities like Shane Dawson, received a coronavirus relief loan according to data released by the Small Business Administration and compiled in a ProPublica database.
  • Beauty YouTuber Jeffree Star says that he owns the company, which came under fire earlier this summer for restocking Shane Dawson's merchandise as the YouTuber was embroiled in controversy.
  • Jeffree Star Cosmetics also received a coronavirus relief loan, according to SBA data.

Killer Merch, a merchandise company that has partnered with internet celebrities like James Charles and Shane Dawson in the past, appears to have received a coronavirus relief loan.

According to ProPublica's database of companies approved for over $150,000 in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, and disclosed by the Small Business Administration (SBA), Killer Merch LLC received a loan in the amount of $350,000 to $1 million on May 3. In the SBA data, published by ProPublica, Killer Merch LLC reported 59 jobs.

PPP loans, which are part of the federal CARES act, are intended to help small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic, which has had widespread economic impacts. The loans are intended to keep workers on payrolls, and the SBA said that the loans would be fully forgiven if businesses put them towards payroll costs, mortgage interest, rent, and utilities.
Killer Merch is strongly associated with contentious beauty YouTuber Jeffree Star, who says that he owns the company. The company came under fire earlier this summer for restocking Shane Dawson's hoodies amid a wave of backlash against the YouTube star. At the time, people were widely criticizing Dawson's old, racist content, including instances of blackface and a video in which he appears to pretend to masturbate to a photo of 11-year-old Willow Smith.

In August, Killer Merch customers received a notice that Dawson was launching new merchandise even as he maintained his YouTube hiatus following a summer of controversy. Dawson and Star have been close collaborators in previous years.

A representative for Killer Merch did not immediately return Insider's request for comment regarding the PPP loan and as to whether or not Star is indeed a co-owner of the company.

Jeffree Star Cosmetics, which is run by Star, also was reported to have received a PPP loan in an amount of $350,000 to $1 million according to SBA data. That loan was also approved on May 3, and Jeffree Star Cosmetics, Inc listed 21 employees. Representatives for Jeffree Star Cosmetics did not respond to Insider's request for comment after the news was initially reported by Mashable.

Approximately $670 million in emergency economic relief was made available to small businesses in 2020 via the PPP this year, Business Insider reported. When the program expired on August 8, the SBA had approved over 5.2 million loans. In a September 1 memo, House Democrats said that billions of dollars of relief funds were at risk for fraud and abuse. The Washington Post reported in July that some SBA loans went to private equity-backed chains and businesses that were owned by members of Congress.