John Demsey, a senior executive at makeup company Estée Lauder, was fired today over posting an “offensive” meme that somehow combined COVID-19 mockery with Sesame Street characters and, of all people, St. Louisan rapper Chingy, according to The Wall Street Journal and CNN Business.
Demsey, whose former title of executive group president oversaw brands under the Estée Lauder umbrella including Clinique and Mac, had posted the meme to Instagram, where he generally shares memes and brand-related advertising. The meme in question featured a spoof Little Golden Book cover with Big Bird visiting an apparently sick Snuffleupagus with a surgical mask on under the caption, “My n**** Snuffy done got the ‘rona at a Chingy concert.”
Estee Lauder senior executive John Demsey has been fired after posting this meme on his Instagram.
He was making nearly $10M a year.
He’s posted an apology saying he “didn’t read it before posting” pic.twitter.com/kCoIwN2n98
— chris evans (@notcapnamerica) February 28, 2022
Apparently, not everyone found it as amusing as he did, prompting him to take down the meme, replacing it with an apology. “I am terribly sorry and deeply ashamed that I hurt so many people when I made the horrible mistake of carelessly reposting a racist meme without reading it beforehand,” it read. “There are not enough words to express me remorse and sorrow.Not only did I hurt many people whom I respect, the terrible mistake that I made has undermined everything I have been working for since I began my career 31 years ago. The meme is the furthest thing from what I stand for and I should have never reposted it. I am so sorry that I let down the company that I have dedicated my life’s work to as well as its employees, artists, friends and colleagues. I hope that in time people will judge me, not for this awful mistake, but for my lifetime of words and actions, which demonstrate my respect for all people.”
Hey look, I can only speak for myself, but I didn’t read that as racist. Maybe a 60-year-old white guy shouldn’t have shared it, but it’s pretty funny. A lot of folks on Twitter seem to agree, as Chingy has suddenly found himself trending for the first time since maybe “Dem Jeans” came out in 2006. Let’s take a look at the reactions, shall we?
$10,000,000 a year down the hole over CHINGY I can’t breathe https://t.co/kk8qJe8Ros
— Freddie HotSpot (@HeavyFarda) February 28, 2022
Chingy when he sees why he’s trending pic.twitter.com/1VL4WTg0Jk
— Josh Sperry (@Josh___Sperry) February 28, 2022
— The Morally Corrupt Tay Resnick (@SweetTayPie0104) February 28, 2022
chingy trying to figure out why he’s trending all of sudden pic.twitter.com/9NykGykt1A
— upper-middle trash (@NotCamDennis) February 28, 2022
“The plan is to get an Estee Lauder senior executive fired from a job that pays $10 million a year. But first, we’ll need a Chingy meme.” pic.twitter.com/y6KXssgKFI
— Ryan Day (@ryaneatscake) February 28, 2022
All of us seeing why Chingy and Sesame Street are both trending pic.twitter.com/Gtbk5uCNEE
— Pizza Dad (@Pizza__Dad) February 28, 2022
MY NIGGA SNUFFY DONE CAUGHT DA RONA AT A CHINGY CONCERT pic.twitter.com/XNs2afavHR
— ً (@1GBZay) February 28, 2022
Apparently, the meme itself originated over on Reddit and Demsey was amused enough to share it without considering the whole “n-word” angle. There’s also this tweet, which, like all tweets, is suspect, but relevant. Also, Chingy concerts/tickets seem to be a recurring theme in the account’s meme-making.
When I made this meme about @ChingyFulldekk and @sesamestreet, I had no idea I’d get @EsteeLauder‘s John Dempsey suspended but here we are. #johndempsey #EsteeLauder #chingy #sesamestreet pic.twitter.com/qOESLsFZZV
— Chris Taliaferro (@ECTaliaferro) February 25, 2022
Sorry to that man. Something tells me he’ll be fine, but as long as we’re on the subject, Chingy was actually a pretty good rapper and deserved better. I’ll die on this hill. Drop something while your name is hot, Ching-A-Ling, I will support you, even if the streets say you look like a youth pastor/substitute teacher now. Between this and the whole Rocco fiasco a few months ago, it seems like Sesame Street has gone viral for a lot of strange — but hilarious — reasons.
— Drunk Jill Scott (@VeryBlesseth) February 28, 2022