The French makeup brand Sephora has cut ties with YouTube influencer Amanda Ensing after social media commenters resurfaced tweets she posted amid the Jan. 6 riot inside the U.S. Capitol.
In a comment to Instagram, the cosmetic company said it cancelled its partnership with Ensing, who has more than 1.4 million YouTube followers and frequently posts about her Christian faith and conservative politics, because her opinions do not “align” with the brand’s “values around inclusivity.”
“Thank you for reaching out and bringing this to our attention,” read a comment from Sephora. “We were made aware that Amanda Ensing, an influencer contracted through one of our external vendors’ campaigns, recently shared content on social media that is not aligned with Sephora’s values around inclusivity. As soon as we were informed, we made the decision to cease all programming with Amanda and will not be engaging her for future partnerships.”
Much of the backlash toward Ensing seems tied to a tweet the influencer posted Jan. 6, when rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., while then-Vice President Mike Pence and members of Congress were convening to certify President Joe Biden’s victory in the Electoral College.
“There’s not enough popcorn in the world for what’s about to happen,” she tweeted, later adding, “This is referring to the amount of corruption about to be revealed in our government. As usual, the left twists our words.”
Several hours later, Ensing posted this tweet:
Ensing posted a video to Facebook Sunday, following the abrupt decision by Sephora to sever ties with the YouTuber. In it, she described herself as “first and foremost, a Christian,” “secondly, American,” and “thirdly, Latina.”
“When did makeup become political,” she asked, accusing the cosmetics company of discriminating against her because of her political views.
In her video, Ensing showed screenshots of what she claimed to be her contract with rewardStyle, an affiliate network that connects influencers to brands. In the contract, there is a clause allowing Sephora to sever ties with influencers in “extreme situations, such as violence or hate speech.”
Ensing said that, during contract negotiations, she asked a Sephora representative to assure her the company allows influencers to speak freely. Sephora, Ensing explained, told her the the company does “not discriminate against any political or religious group.”
The YouTuber also alleged that Sephora offered her a settlement if she would sign an agreement promising to “stay silent and not talk about” how the relationship soured. Ensing, however, has refused to stay quiet. Instead, she is calling on Sephora to issue an apology and pay her for her sponsored video, which is still on her YouTube page.
“This is so much bigger than me getting paid,” she said. “My mother did not come here from Puerto Rico and risk and sacrifice everything to live in the America that we’re living in right now, where you are silenced, censored, or denied work because of your political or religious views.”
She went on to condemn what she sees as Sephora’s hypocrisy when it comes to the brand’s supposed embrace of “inclusivity,” noting other influencers have “made fun of my ethnicity” and “say that I’m no longer Latina because I’m conservative.”
“But brands seem to still be working with them,” Ensing said. “Are you going to disaffiliate with every influencer who threatened violence against me in the last couple of months? Every influencer who mocked my faith and my religious beliefs? Or is it OK because they’re liberal or not conservative?”
Ensing went on to point out that, in cutting ties with her, Sephora is sending a message to the 75 million Americans who voted for former President Donald Trump.
“Do you think that conservatives don’t buy makeup, don’t wear makeup?” Ensing asked. “Are we not worthy because you said we don’t align with your values of ‘inclusivity?’ Isolating millions of Americans because of their conservative political views from your store is the opposite of unity — the opposite of diversity.”