– Estee Lauder Cos Inc said on Monday it has ousted senior executive John Demsey, less than a week after suspending him over an Instagram post that reportedly contained a racial slur.
According to a Wall Street Journal report, the post pictured a parody of a book cover of the children’s TV show “Sesame Street” and “contained the N-word with some letters replaced with asterisks.”
The post has since been deleted from the executive’s verified Instagram account with nearly 74,000 followers.
“John Demsey, executive group president, The Estée Lauder Companies, was informed he must leave the company, effective this week,” the beauty products maker said in a letter to employees posted on its website.
“This decision is a result of his recent Instagram posts, which do not reflect the values of The Estée Lauder Companies.”
Demsey, who joined Estee Lauder in 1991 and oversaw a range of brands including Clinique and MAC Cosmetics, was placed on unpaid leave by the company from Feb. 22.
Following backlash to the post, Demsey on Friday posted an apology on Instagram.
“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… The meme is the furthest thing from what I stand for…,” he said.
(Reporting by Deborah Sophia in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni and Devika Syamnath)