- Elf Cosmetics apologized three weeks after a controversial Twitch stream.
- The cosmetics brand attempted to pivot to streaming but didn’t include Black creators.
- One Black creator said she was snubbed despite getting the most community support on Twitter.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Elf Cosmetics is the first major makeup brand to launch a Twitch channel, but the creator-marketing pivot to streaming didn’t go as planned. The popular drugstore line, an acronym for “Eyes, Lips, Face,” issued an apology on Twitter for not including Black creators and other underrepresented demographics among the influencers featured in its launch.
“At e.l.f., we firmly embrace diversity and inclusion and we commit that our talent and partners will reflect our commitment in future streams,” the brand said. It also solicited suggestions and feedback.
-elfcosmetics (@elfcosmetics) May 28, 2021
The apology, posted more than three weeks after the launch, was met with continued fallout. The first event on the channel on May 9 featured multiple guests and segments to promote the brand’s products, and Elf has since streamed additional conversations between creators, including one with a Black creator.
Elf Cosmetics did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
A Black creator who received community support said she was ‘snubbed’ by the brand
Before the launch of the “twitch.tv/elfyou” channel, the brand asked its Twitter following to volunteer their “favorite beauty influencers who game.” A Black Twitch streamer who goes by Milady Confetti posted four of her looks underneath the tweet and received the most engagement by far, with 1,000 likes.
-Confetti Quinzel 🎉 (@MiladyConfetti) May 5, 2021
But when Elf launched its stream, commentators were quick to point out there were no Black creators. Confetti wrote that she was “snubbed” despite getting the most fan support.
“That was so hurtful, then only working with white women in my field, heck in the same gaming category as me. Why be so cruel,” she wrote in response to the brand’s apology tweet. Her response got more likes than the apology tweet.
Confetti did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
A creator of color who isn’t known for beauty was invited
A former Twitch streamer posted that Elf reached out to her and invited her onto the stream following the backlash against the launch. But according to Sleepy Mia, she no longer streams and has “never been known” for doing makeup looks, identifying another area where viewers said the brand could have done more research.
-SleepyMia ⚡🐥 #1 Zapdos Fan (@TheSleepyMia) May 26, 2021
“I’m so confused why @elfcosmetics reached out to me to stream with them instead of working with the slew of Black women and POC who called them out,” Mia wrote.
A drag performer criticized Elf’s stream
Elf was also criticized by Twitch streamers like It’s Lucille, a drag performer who posted a Twitter thread outlining what she said were other issues with the launch stream. She pointed out that Elf’s launch stream kept using the word “females” to describe makeup consumers, despite there being men and nonbinary makeup wearers.
-✨Lucille XOXO✨ (She/They) (@itslucillexoxo) May 10, 2021
“For over three hours, you’ve only used the term ‘females’ when talking about your consumers and audience,” Lucille said. “When you finally mention non-binary people, you don’t even use the right tense. We aren’t ‘a non-binary.’ Non-binary is an adjective, not a noun.”
Lucille also noted that Elf still worked with the makeup influencer Jeffree Star. Insider’s Amanda Krause said in an analysis that makeup customers judged brands based on more than just the product itself.
“Now, beauty fans say they’re heartbroken watching their favorite companies seemingly choose sales and publicity over allyship,” Krause wrote. “And experts argue that brands should cut ties with problematic influencers – regardless of their fame – to back up their words with action.”