Estée Lauder said the Instagram posts "have caused widespread offense."
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Estée Lauder just fired one of its top executives for sharing a racist Instagram post.
The beauty brand announced on Monday that it was sacking John Demsey, the executive group president of Estee Lauder Companies, as a "result of his recent Instagram posts."
The company was referring to one post in particular, which showed a Sesame-Street-style meme featuring a racial slur and a COVID-19 reference.
Demsey posted the inappropriate meme to his Instagram on February 21. It's since been deleted but @esteelaundry, a popular beauty account, reposted a screenshot of the meme.
Demsey was placed on unpaid leave after posting the meme, but Estée Lauder has now terminated him, reported Fortune.
“This decision is the result of his recent Instagram posts, which do not reflect the values of The Estée Lauder Companies, have caused widespread offense, are damaging to our efforts to drive inclusivity both inside and outside our walls, and do not reflect the judgment we expect of our leaders,” said a statement from the company.
Demsey took to his Instagram to apologize for the post on Friday.
“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,” Demsey wrote.
“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.”
According to Fortune, Demsey will leave the company and retire on March 4.