Trouble began brewing Friday morning when Sephora made the following announcement on its Facebook page:
The reality is that in taking steps to restore website functionality, some of our loyal North American and international clients got temporarily blocked. We understand how frustrating it is and are deeply sorry for the disruption to your shopping experience.
However, in some instances we have, indeed, de-activated accounts due to reselling — a pervasive issue throughout the industry and the world. As part of our ongoing commitment to protecting our clients and our brands, we have identified certain entities who take advantage of promotional opportunities to purchase products in large volume on our website and re-sell them through other channels.
After careful consideration, we have deactivated these accounts in order to optimize product availability for the majority of our clients.
Everything seems in order…until you scroll to the comments section.
— Jezebel (@Jezebel) November 7, 2014
Allegedly, the entirety of accounts deactivated by the retailer belong to Asian customers. As in ANYONE with a surname that would give the impression that they from Asia; if your first name is “Westernized”, you are supposedly in the clear.
An incriminating screencap was posted that seems to verify that the majority of people who were locked out of their account were in fact East Asian:
There seems to be a steady flow of notably Asian customers to the Sephora Facebook to beg to have their accounts back following an alleged blatant act of discrimination.
And that’s simply not good.
It would be one thing if there were a number of visibly non-Asian individuals on the page complaining about the mix-up.
However, the appearance that Sephora locked out individuals based on their ethnic identity alone practically screams racism to the heavens.
— Styleite (@Styleite) November 7, 2014
What’s perhaps MORE puzzling is why Sephora would risk its reputation rather than simply limit the amount of items that can be purchased at any given time?
If it’s impossible to buy in bulk, shenanigans are will likely NOT ensue.
It’s a solution that Sephora could very well be kicking itself over in the future. Especially if the accusations are eventually validated and the company finds itself facing one heck of a class action lawsuit.
Do you think Sephora knowingly targeted Asian customers? If so, was the move a racist one?