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Estée Lauder reportedly suspends executive John Demsey after backlash over Instagram post

Estée Lauder Companies has reportedly suspended one of its executives without pay after he sparked backlash with a post shared to his personal Instagram.

John Demsey, who serves as executive group president of the cosmetics company, was suspended after he posted a meme which included a racial slur and jokes about the Covid pandemic, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The outlet reports that the Instagram post, which has since been deleted, featured a spoof book cover of the TV show Sesame Street, and reportedly showed character Big Bird wearing a face mask.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the length of Demsey’s suspension was not immediately clear. The Estée Lauder executive, who has worked at the company for more than 15 years, oversees a portfolio of beauty brands including Mac Cosmetics and Clinique. He joined the company in 2006 after previously serving as the global president at Mac Cosmetics, according to his LinkedIn.

On Instagram, where Demsey has more than 73,000 followers, his most recent Instagram photo shows an advertisement for Mac Cosmetics.

In the comments under the post, Instagram users have continued to criticise the beauty executive over his since-deleted post.

“Can you explain the meme you posted?” one person asked, while another said: “Do you plan to step down or do we need to do it for you?”

Someone else urged Demsey to “address the meme you posted and deleted”.

The Independent has contacted Estée Lauder Companies for comment.

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