Beauty Company Executive Fired for Posting Sesame Street Meme Mentioning Chingy, the N-Word and COVID-19 – Report
Today (Feb. 28), news broke of John Demsey—now-former senior executive of the beauty company Estée Lauder—being fired from his position for posting a Sesame Street meme on his personal Instagram page that mentioned Chingy, N-word and COVID-19. CNN reports that Estée Lauder has released a statement confirming Demsey's termination, saying it was a "result of his recent Instagram posts, which do not reflect the values of the Estée Lauder Companies."
The post, which has since been deleted, showed the cover of a Sesame Street children's book featuring characters Big Bird and Mr. Snuffleupagus. The title had been edited to read, "My n***a Snuffy done got the ’rona at a Chingy concert."
Based on additional screenshots, Demsey posted the meme sometime last week. He posted an apology statement on Instagram this past Saturday (Feb. 26). "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," he wrote. "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," he continued. "The meme is the furthest thing from what I stand for and I should have never reposted it."
Demsey's apology went on to say, "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."
XXL has reached out to a rep for Estée Lauder for comment.
A screenshot of Demsey's original post and a photo of himself has gone viral on Twitter, prompting people's overwhelming response to the mention of Chingy. See that, as well as a variety of reactions, below.