Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty has pulled a highlighter from its collection after many people called its name offensive.
The controversy began last week when the makeup brand released its latest lineup of Killawatt highlighters, including one shade called Geisha Chic.
Negative reactions poured in on Instagram, with many people calling the name racist and disrespectful to people of Asian descent.
“I think it’s really important that you all rethink this name, as there is a long oppressive history of geisha culture and the fetishization of it is something people need to move away from,” one person commented on an Instagram post about the highlighter. “Please reconsider.”
“As an East Asian, I hate this shade name. Thank you, next,” someone else commented.
“It would make a lovely glowy blush but unfortunately the name is too offensive for me so it’s a skip,” another person wrote on Instagram.
Fenty Beauty seemed to hear all the negative feedback; before long, they had removed all mentions of the product from their Instagram page.
They also sent a private Instagram message to one person who had complained about the product, confirming that the highlighter had been pulled and would be reintroduced with a new name.
The woman shared a screenshot of the company’s response on Reddit.
“While (the name) could possibly be meant to be positive, it will definitely rub some people the wrong way because of the constant misuse and negative connotations associated with it in western representations of geishas,” the Reddit user wrote, explaining what she said in her original complaint to Fenty Beauty.
“I think of course it’s good they are responding to the feedback so quickly and changing the name, not making excuses,” she added. “I could understand this definitely leaving a bad taste in people’s mouths regardless though.”
TODAY Style reached out to Fenty Beauty for comment, and they responded with the text of the apology they sent to the Reddit user above.
Since Rihanna launched Fenty Beauty in 2017, the brand has been known for its remarkable inclusivity. The line offers makeup for a wide range of diverse skin tones, aiming to address the lack of options that darker-skinned people often have when shopping for foundation and other products.
The pop singer hasn’t commented directly on the controversy surrounding the ‘Geisha Chic’ highlighter, but she has spoken previously about her commitment to inclusivity with her makeup line.
“We are always on the lookout for the ones who still haven’t found their shade, because nothing is more important to us than making sure no shade is left behind,” she wrote recently on Twitter.