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Kiev lashes out at US makeup firm over ‘Russian Red’ lipstick

Ukraine’s foreign ministry has called out MAC Cosmetics over how it has named a shade

The American cosmetics manufacturer M·A·C has crossed a line by calling one of its lipstick shades ‘Russian Red’ amid the ongoing Ukraine conflict, Kiev’s foreign ministry stated on Wednesday.

Ukraine has been targeting foreign brands that it considers insufficiently supportive of its cause. The government maintains a list of so-called “international sponsors of war” – companies that continue to do business in Russia – in a bid to publicly put pressure on them.

The attack on New York-headquartered MAC Cosmetics was launched via the ministry’s official account on X (formerly Twitter). The post featured an image which appeared to be an altered promo poster for the firm’s Matte Lipstick line, with ‘blood’ photoshopped under the model’s mouth and a photo of damaged homes in the background.

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“Russian Red” – the name of the lipstick shade – is actually “the color of the blood of Ukrainians killed by Russia every day,” the ministry declared. It was unclear whether Kiev had any issues with MAC Cosmetics other than their use of the word “Russian.”

Ukraine’s blacklist of “sponsors of war” was compiled by its National Agency on Corruption Prevention rather than the foreign ministry. MAC Cosmetics is not among the ten American entries, which include Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo and Mars.

This week, a Ukrainian official announced that there will be real-life consequences for the sanctioned businesses, in addition to the presumed harm to their reputation. Their products will not be considered for army procurement, Dmitry Bigunets, a spokesman for the state-run military logistics agency, told the media.

MAC Cosmetics has suspended direct operations in Russia, according to its regional website. However, its products, including Russian Red matte lipstick, are sold by third-party vendors.

February 15, 2024 at 05:04PM

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