beauty drama

The Mysterious Case of the Disappearing Kat Von D Instagram Contest

Kat Von D. Photo: 2016 Getty Images

How much drama could possibly emerge from an Instagram contest? A lot, apparently. Last month Kat Von D Beauty hosted a competition to promote the brand’s Saint and Sinner oeuvre. The competition called for entrants to submit their best ode to “Saint- and Sinner-inspired makeup” for a chance to win a $500 gift card to Sephora and an invite to Kat Von D’s Saint and Sinner launch party in Los Angeles. Everything seemed normal — perhaps even a little dull — until the brand announced makeup artist Gypsy Freeman as the competition’s winner.

Commenters on Instagram quickly pointed out that Freeman was a Trump supporter, and cited Freeman’s Instagram post from last November as evidence.

The night she was declared winner, Freeman says she received a private message on Instagram from Kat Von D’s personal account, reports the Kansas City Star. “Hey there, I just wanted you to know that I chose your entry because of the talent that came with the images you created,” Kat Von D writes, according to screenshots Freeman provided. “Lots of people have been leaving negative comments … But the ones that concerned me were the Trump related ones.”

Von D continued, writing: “I just want you to know that I personally have a hard time with inviting anyone who would support such an anti-feminist, anti-homosexual/LGBT, anti-immigrant, and anti-climate change fascist such as Trump … I would feel the same way towards people who supported Hitler, or any other fascist. In a world where most people are afraid to stand up for what’s right, I refuse to.”

In the Instagram exchange, Freeman defended herself, stating: “I have very close friends and family that are lesbians and homosexuals. My sister (the model)’s boyfriend is an immigrant and I am a support of my sex.”

The two messaged back and forth a few additional times, with Von D remaining stoic in her decision to disinvite Freeman to the launch party. “It’s definitely bigotry — it’s everything that they’re calling us, they’re doing,” Freeman told the Kansas City Star. “It’s a huge case of hypocrisy.”

In the end, Kat Von D Beauty scrubbed all evidence of the contest from its social-media feeds and website, and invited Jenn Bischof — the photographer Freeman used to capture the winning photos — to the launch party instead. A cached version of Kat Von D’s website that delineates the competition’s rules adds a crinkle to Freeman’s wrongful-punishment argument. It states: “Follow @katvondbeauty on Instagram, post a photograph of yourself with Saint and Sinner inspired makeup based on Kat Von D’s photo posted in the contest post on Instagram.”

According to Freeman’s screenshots, she submitted a photo of her sister, and not one of herself, as the rules state. Well, you know what they say: You can’t win them all.

Kat Von D posted the following comment on Instagram:

No one got disqualified, so calm down. I personally messaged her sharing MY personal feelings on the subject as to avoid her getting even more criticism than she already was receiving. She decided on her own to not come to my launch. And further more [sic], just like everyone has the right to support whomever they choose, I have the right to set my own personal boundaries. If you want to explain to my Mother who lives in Mexico why she should pay for a wall to be built, and why she should have to deal with the negativity that comes with such anti-Mexican statements as our president has made, feel free. If you want to explain to my why anyone should tell me what rights I have over my own body, feel free. If you want to promote some who is anti-immigrant, anti-LGBT, anti-women, and denies climate change - feel free. But don’t throw a tantrum on my personal Instagram if I personally don’t back YOUR choices. Have a great day. X

The Case of the Disappearing Kat Von D Instagram Contest