Ulta Beauty’s dignified response to criticism
Recently, Ulta Beauty welcomed a transgender influencer, Dylan Mulvaney, onto their brand podcast. David Lopez, a gender-fluid hairdresser, interviewed Mulvaney. Some listeners believed that Mulvaney was appropriating women’s “unique identity.” Ulta responded to some of the tweets, standing by their decision to have Mulvaney on the podcast. In response to one angry viewer, they said, “We’re sorry to hear that. We celebrate beauty of all kinds, and we ask that if you choose to comment on our channel, you do so with respect to others.” Another response was, “We want our channel to be welcoming to people from all walks of life – even people you may not agree with.” According to PRWeek, Ulta Beauty VP of PR Eileen Zeisemer also responded in an emailed statement, “We believe beauty is for everyone, and while we recognize some conversations we host will challenge perspectives and opinions, we believe constructive dialogue is one important way to move beauty forward.”
Ulta handled this in a very admirable manner. They stuck by what they believed and dealt with each response respectfully. They did not apologize for what they thought was the right thing to do. The statement the VP of PR released addressed most people’s concerns but did not shy away from what they did. Even though many people were angered by this apparent slight, they stood by their company and its values.
A very high number of the responses to their tweet promoting the podcast were negative. Many vowed never to shop at the store again, and even more criticized their podcast, supposedly about women and beauty but having two transgender women instead of “real” women. Many took it as a personal, intentional slight against women.
Ulta responded to many angry viewers individually, another commended approach. Each response was calm and collected while also being firm in their stance on the subject, never giving an inch to those angered by the message. In some of their responses, they also called out the blatant hatred they saw from those upset by the podcast while remaining calm. One example is a response to a now-deleted tweet saying, “Hate has no place at Ulta Beauty or our social channels. Please refrain from posting disrespectful or hateful comments.” A firm notice that they will not tolerate hate towards those in their podcast or anywhere else on their social channels. A very well-thought-out and dignified approach all around.
By Riley Murr
Riley Murr is a senior at SDSU and will graduate in 2023 with a degree in Journalism with an emphasis in Public Relations. She was born and raised in Orange County, California, and moved to San Diego in 2021 to pursue her degree at San Diego State.