This is Leesha. You might know her as "xsparkage" on YouTube, where she's been making beauty videos for years. If you don't know her, buckle up, because you're about to.
On May 11, Leesha uploaded a first impression review of the viral Evie Blender.
Evie Blender is a rubber/silicone alternative to the popular beautyblender sponge.
Leesha began her video by clarifying that the Evie Blender requires a unique application technique, which she followed as the brand instructs on its website. However, she still expressed a distaste for the product's texture and the finish it gave to her foundation.
The official Evie Blender YouTube handle then got in the comments of Leesha's review and threw myriad shade.
The comment read as follows: "Hi @xsparkage! We just saw your video and would love to give you a demo on how to properly use the blender. The beauty editors for Cosmo, BuzzFeed, Hello Giggles, and Elle Mag all love our blender (and have written unpaid reviews raving about us after properly using it correctly).
It is important that the blender is not used the way you did because you can confuse a lot of customers who might believe you are a beauty expert. Second, you wouldn't claim a bike doesn't work because you fell on the first try! This is a new patent pending innovation that requires some practice. We have never and would never claim to be the replacement for the beautyblender because it's made out of foam. Angie, the founder, makes herself available via DM to answer questions and do personal video demos for people like you who may experience a hard time."
Many commenters on Instagram and YouTube found this comment to be rude.
Leesha replied by doing a second Evie Blender review, in which she made certain to follow the products instructions exactly.
She still wasn't a fan.
At this point, other big YouTubers had also posted poor reviews of the product.
After Leesha's second review, Evie Blender left a decidedly nicer comment.
The brand said it parted ways with the social media assistant who'd left the previous comment and that someone from Evie Blender had sent Leesha a private email.
But the private message took a harsh, legal tone.
Shortly thereafter, Leesha received a cease and desist email from Evie Blender's team. She was asked to remove certain negative posts she had made about the brand.
The email, which Leesha says came from Evie Blender's CFO, Carly Howard, reads as follows:
"We have been made aware of social media posts in which you refer to our company as "telling you you're using our product wrong." Factually, our representatives have not mentioned you or any other beauty influencer, company, or individual in any way. Cease and desist this slander, defamation, libel, and unfair business practice immediately. Remove any posts referring to our company in a negative manner regarding this issue.
Evolution Beauty, LLC believes in staying positive and building a community of supporters instead of resorting to negative drama. We hope you will support this vision so we're not forced to take legal action against you."
After a heavy backlash, Evie Blender made a public apology and temporarily deactivated its Twitter and Facebook accounts.
"We at Evie Blender apologize sincerely to @xsparkage for the negative YouTube comment that was left on her video, as well as the uncalled for email that occurred," the apology reads.
Leesha spoke to Revelist over email and explained why the apology was too little too late.
"I have been in situations in the past where I didn’t like a product, or used a product differently than the brand suggests, and had the company reach out to me personally, talk about it — sometimes even publicly address it and acknowledge the issues I brought up," Leesha wrote.
"One company even lowered the price of its product after I mentioned a huge packaging issue and refunded customers the difference! These types of actions leave me and other customers feeling confident in the brand, and it leaves a positive impression on both of us. Unfortunately, Evie Blender didn’t go this route, and we are in the situation we have now."
Evie Blender CEO Angie Johnson clarified that the email sent to Leesha was not a formal or legal cease and desist order.
"Our legal counsel (lawyers) did NOT send a Cease and Desist to @xsparkage (Leesha)," Johnson told Revelist. "One of our colleagues, who is not involved in day to day operations, reached out to @xsparkage to make amends and resolve this issue. Unfortunately, the email our colleague sent was strongly worded and contained the subject line "cease and desist." There was not a formal cease and desist letter sent to @xsparkage. We sent an email with a poorly worded title and for that we apologize.We take no issue with negative reviews and respect everyone's right to their opinions. We have a lot of fantastic reviews, and if someone leaves a negative review, we use that as a place to learn. Both negative and positive help us grow into a better brand and we are grateful for that."
So be careful how you treat customers and influencers, brands. Because the receipts may come out.
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