In the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, people are sharing their experiences with racism in the workplace. One former employee of Jeffree Star Cosmetics, Kam Lester alleges that Jeffree used him as the “token black kid” for his brand. He posted a long video on Instagram describing his experience working for the beauty mogul and what was really going on behind the scenes.
Full disclaimer: While Kam seems extremely angry and outraged, these allegations have not yet been confirmed by other employees that worked for the brand nor Jeffree himself.
Kam Lester Said Jeffree Star Was Not Respectful Towards Black Employees
Kam was featured as a model in the Jeffree Star Cosmetics campaign for “Magic Star” concealer and setting powder. These products launched back in April 2019. “I felt like he was trying to send a message in some way that I was replaceable as a black boy.” He said that any time the two communicated it was very superficial. The up and coming beauty influencer mentioned that Jeffree had gotten rid of a lot of black influencers on his PR list before launching his huge “Conspiracy” collaboration with popular YouTuber and friend Shane Dawson. As a black influencer himself, Kam thought this was very strange. Shane did come off friendly to Kam but he felt this way a way to silence him as a black man in the industry.
But one specific experience that made Kam feel uncomfortable was when Jeffree asked him if he likes James Charles. Jeffree and James have a notorious feud so it put Kam in an odd position. James and Kam are good friends and he did not want to get caught in the middle of their drama. Kam said he overheard one FaceTime conversation Between Jeffree and Shane where they trash-talked James right before he was cancelled by the internet and lost 3 million subscribers. It was a very different side of Shane then he was used to seeing.
Kam Encouraged Jeffree To Make Amends With The Black Beauty Community
In the past, beauty YouTuber Jackie Aina posted an open letter on social media detailing why she will no longer support Jeffree or his brand. She said “I have not and will not excuse his blatantly racist behavior and — not his past references to me in derogatory terms, his use of the N words nor his efforts to eliminate spaces and opportunities for people of color.” This came before Jeffree’s former hairstylist posted text screenshots of the YouTuber using derogatory terms. Kam said that he encouraged Jeffree to reach out to Jackie as a way of making amends and apologizing for his past actions. For him, he saw this as a way for Jeffree to be accountable and apologize to the black beauty community.
He recalled the conversation that he had with Jeffree in which he said that Jackie does not deserve a spot on his platform. “I just left it at that, but I was definitely hurt as a black boy and as a black influencer who loves Jackie, that he was not trying to grow or amend that disconnect or wrongdoing he has done,” Kam said.
The thing that sparked Kam to make this video is that the day prior, he said a member of Jeffree’s team reached out to him. They asked him if he knew other black influencers that would be willing to support Jeffree Star Cosmetics. For him, the answer was no because of the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement to combat racism.
Jeffree has yet to respond to these allegations but knowing him, a video about it will probably soon be on the horizons.