Beauty Blogger Laura Lee Apologizes After Racist Tweets from 2012 Resurface
YouTube beauty vlogger Laura Lee is facing serious repercussions after racist tweets she posted several years ago resurfaced.
Fans found several old tweets posted on Lee’s Twitter account in 2012 that are causing an uproar in the beauty community. Lee has admitted to posting the offensive tweets as well as several fat-shaming tweets in 2013, all of which have since been deleted from her account. (Lee did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for a comment.)
The Alabama-native makeup guru posted a lengthy apology on Twitter on Aug. 13 for her “insensitive” and “inexcusable” tweets.
“I want to deeply apologize for comments of mine that recently surfaced from six years ago. The insensitive retweet and tweets I made are inexcusable and I apologize from the bottom of my heart to anyone affected by them,” she wrote.
“I deactivated my Twitter last night because I was mad at myself for the ignorant tweets that I made back in 2012. That girl who tweeted that isn’t who I am today. I now understand the seriousness behind those tweets,” the 29 year old continued. “Those tweets aren’t humorous in any way to me today and I am truly sorry to everyone I have hurt and offended. I feel so disgusted about this and want you to know from the bottom of my heart I am incredibly grateful for this community.”
“Social media has taught me so much about the injustice, bullying, and inequality people face daily. I’m at a place of more understanding now, but there’s always room for me to learn and grow. I’m thankful for my subscribers, this community and my husband who all continue to help me on that journey.”
“With this all in mind, I want to make sure that I’m not only apologizing for my words but following up with action. I want to make sure ignorance like this is being left in the past not just for me, but for everyone. With that, I will be focusing on getting involved with foundations that focus on educating the importance of equality and social justice. These ‘jokes’ relate to awful realities so many people face and I want to work with organizations focusing on changing that. I have a few in mind, but if you all have any to recommend, I am all ears and would love to hear what organizations you all love and support.”
She ended her apology by saying, “Personally, I will continue to work on myself. I am not perfect, but I know I am better than this. I’m holding myself and my actions accountable – to use this as a learning moment. I sincerely apologize to you all and I hope with time, I am able to earn your respect back.”
Following her Twitter apology, Lee continued to face massive backlash, so she shared a five minute video on YouTube titled, “My Apology,” which has since gained more than 7.5 million views.
In the video, Lee breaks down sobbing saying she has “no excuses” for what she did and hopes to prove to her subscribers that she is “not that girl.” The beauty guru also begged fans to “please just hate me” and not attack her family, after people starting coming after her mother and niece, she says.
Through tears, she says, “People have called my mother and threatened to kill her. They have gotten her phone number. They attacked a child, my 14-year-old niece, attacked her. And I ask you this please, let this be me. Let this be about me. It’s not about my family. It’s about me. It is not about anyone else. This is my sorry.”
Since the scandal, Lee has lost over 400,000 YouTube subscribers, according to SocialBlade, a website which measures social media growth.
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Amid the drama, Lee, who started her own makeup company Laura Lee Los Angeles, has lost nearly all of her brand sponsorships, including a major deal with Ulta.
“We have decided not to move forward with the launch of Laura Lee Los Angeles. Ulta Beauty values equality and inclusivity in all that we do,” an Ulta spokesperson tells PEOPLE in an official statement.
Beauty subscription service Boxycharm, which has collaborated with Lee in the past, also cut ties with Lee. The company’s CEO Yosef Martin made an official statement on the brand’s Facebook page.
“Absolutely we do not support that. We do not, we do not understand how someone can tweet something like this. This is a very disturbing tweet. We are against anything like that,” Martin said.
DIFF Eyewear removed its sunglasses collaboration with Lee, which launched in June, from its website (PEOPLE has reached out to DIFF for comment).
Lee has also worked with Morphe cosmetics for years, but she is no longer listed under the brand’s “Extended Family” tab on its website. (Interestingly, Jeffree Star, who faced a racism scandal of his own in 2017, still appears on the drop-down.) “Lee’s Favorites Brush Collection” also appears to have been taken down from the company’s site.