Updated: May 9th, 2023
Tarte Cosmetics is at the center of controversy once again over their infamous influencer trips.
The beauty brand came under fire earlier this week when influencer Bria Jones accused Tarte of being misleading in their communications leading up to a brand trip in Miami to watch Formula 1.
In her video, which was deleted, Bria cried as she claimed that Tarte invited her on the influencer trip and told her that she would be sitting in the front row on race day, Sunday, May 7th.
Bria said that she later noticed her plane ticket home had been booked by Tarte for Saturday, May 6th— one day before the actual race.
She said she reached out to other influencers invited on the trip to ask what day they were flying home and confirmed they were all booked on flights for Monday, May 8th.
Bria went on to say that despite knowing her numbers aren’t “as good” as some of the other influencers invited, she pulled out of the trip as she felt intentionally misled and realised she would be treated differently than everyone else there.
“I’m being treated like a second-tier person or like I’m being ranked. It just feels like a sorority situation and I’m not doing that shit. I don’t care if it means that I no longer have a relationship with the Tarte team,” Bria said in her video. “I don’t agree with how they’re doing this.”
One day later, Maureen Kelly, founder and CEO of Tarte Cosmetics, has taken to TikTok to address the situation.
In her video, Maureen said her priority when planning these brand trips is to be able to host as many influencers as possible.
She clarified that each cohort of influencers invited on this trip would spend one day at the race track, attend one dinner event, and party for one night at a club. Each group was invited for the same number of days and included a mix of “big creators and up-and-coming creators and nothing was decided based on the follower count,” she said.
Maureen explained that some influencers expressed wanting to attend the Sunday race, so the Tarte team “quickly adjusted” and acquired extra tickets so that every creator can attend “whichever day that they want.”
She finished by saying it’s going to be a great weekend and she has no hard feelings towards anyone.
Bria returned to social media on Saturday, saying she’s since been in contact with the Tarte team and they confirmed there had been miscommunication “on both ends.”
“I recognise my mistake in responding so quickly and publicly, but Tarte has done a great job of working through the situation with me. So I know we’re both glad to be moving forward in a positive way,” she said on her Instagram stories.
She finished by saying she will be taking a break from TikTok for the time being.
On May 9th, Maureen took to the platform once again to apologise for her initial TikTok video. Many users found Maureen’s TikTok insufficient, as it centered her as the victim rather than addressing what the creators were bringing to light.
“I wanted to address a mistake that I made recently. I take full responsibility for a TikTok video that I posted responding to claims by a respected and valued Tarte creator. It was about a recent Tarte event that was meant to be informative and conversational from me, but it definitely missed the mark” she said about her get-ready-with-me style TikTok.
“My choosing a light-hearted approach to a topic that deserved a serious response was definitely a wrong approach,” she said.
The Tarte founder went on to say that she should have used her TikTok as a time to address the “unequal treatment of Black creators within beauty creator programs” before admitting that the brand has fallen short “in matters of diversity, inclusion, and equity in the past.”
Maureen proceeded to share several steps that Tarte will be taking in the future to ensure all creators get equitable treatment by the brand.
Despite her promises, it appears many users in her comments are unsatisfied with this apology, given Tarte’s history.