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Is This Lipstick Offensive? Sephora Pulls a Kat Von D Shade From Shelves

11/07/2013 at 04:48 PM ET

Kat Von D lipstickJason LaVeris/FilmMagic; Courtesy Kat Von D

When you consider the vast array of lipstick and nailpolish shades out there, it can’t be easy coming up with fresh names for various hues of red, pink and nude. (Although it does sound like a pretty great job.) But angry customers are drawing the line at a lipstick called “Celebutard” by Kat Von D.

The tattoo artist and reality star’s lip color line, Painted Love, sports sassy names like “Hellbent” and “Backstage Bambi,” even “Underage Red.” But parents of children with developmental issues were not willing to overlook “Celebutard,” which they say is insulting and offensive.

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“People with disabilities are the last to benefit from what some might call ‘political correctness,’ and what I would call basic human decency,” says Kim Stagliano, managing editor at Age of Autism, in the HuffPost Style blog. “Retard is still bandied about.”

Sephora pulled the shade from shelves and its website and issued a statement of apology, via CTV: “It has come to our attention that the name of one shade of a lipstick we carry has caused offense to some of our clients and others. We are deeply sorry for that, and we have ceased sale of that shade both in our stores and online.”

Kat Von D was not exactly full of remorse, Tweeting, “At the end of the day, it’s just a f—— lipstick,” before deleting the Tweet.

Do you think the name is offensive?

–Sheila Cosgrove Baylis

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Showing 149 comments

Jennifer on

I had never heard of this until it was banned from shelves!

Lois Smith on

As the mother of a special needs child and even if I were not this is extremely offensive!

Can someone send her to sensitivity training?

savagewolf on

1) Who uses the term “retard” to describe handicapped individuals anymore? And if they do then THEY should be the ones criticized, ostracized and condemned. not anyone who dares to utter the dreaded “R” word or any derivative thereof. 2) People give words power. There was a time when “idiot”, “moron”, “Imbecile” were officially used to describe different degrees of mentally handicapped individuals as well but now we accept them as just insults for non-handicapped foolish individuals. Maybe it’s time the words “retard” and “retarded” should be treated the same way. 3)Who cares what some b-list celebrity names their lipstick?!

Susan on

thank you, Kim Stagliano! Any step toward making the world a little more aware, a little more understanding and less self-serving….it all counts and is so appreciated!

Lolzekian on

Kat Von D wasn’t censored: she wasn’t arrested like Chelsea Manning or put on a most wanted list like Snowden. She has free speech and so do her critics. Sephora also had the freedom to make a business decision in recognition of the fact that words matter. They matter enough that many will defend their right to use “tard” as a derogatory expression even when people are getting harmed by it.

I think it’s understandable that some young people who follow celeb trends and don’t have children yet or don’t have disabled children might think the objection is “overly sensitive.” But a bus aide was apparently prosecuted for assaulting and torturing the disabled daughter of the writer quoted in this piece, Kim Stagliano. And according to a Harvard study, three disabled individuals a week are killed (yes, three. A week) in U.S. schools and institutions due to abusive practices by staff. They’re bullied in school, denied services, denied organ transplants, denied medical care that nondisabled peers would routinely receive.

At what point is it okay to become “sensitive” about an issue? When your disabled child is dead due to bullying or abuse by a school aide? Or not even then? All this information is readily available on the web for anyone who’s interested or anyone who has basic empathy. Ignorance is really no excuse in the info age. People might consider looking into an issue before they sound off about it.

Jennifer R on

Why on earth would someone use this as a slur, much less a lipstick shade? I grew up next door with a child who was, among other disabilities, retarded. He was a sweet boy and my best friend for several years. I wouldn’t put any celebrity in the same class with him in any way. Please think before you speak.

Kayla on

There is no “u” in “celebrity.” Nor is there one in “retard.” Therefore I believe this name must have intended to represent celebrities in unitards. The whole thing was a misunderstanding.

(Yes, it’s sarcasm.)

Rhonda on

Sephora should know the name of its lipsticks before they are sold on shelves. “Oh, we didn’t realize we were potentially offensive until we may lose sales or get bad press.” I find the lipstick name derogatory— to vapid, self-obsessed celebrities whom I can’t tolerate— but I also understand why a parent of a special needs child finds any form of the word ‘retard’ offensive.
If in doubt, steer clear of controversial LIPSTICK names.

ss on

I don’t find it that offensive and like others have said I never look at the name of the lip stick I buy. People very much just need something to complain about these days or judge. She lives in Hollywood where you see lots of people who fit this lipstick. Everyone needs to stop being so sensitive and just let people be and if you don’t like it don’t buy it. Plain and simple!!!!!

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