Sephora Is Closing Down All U.S. Stores After the SZA Incident Last Month

Sephora Closing Stores
A woman enters a Sephora cosmetics store on June 3, 2019, in Washington, DC.  Anna-Rose Gassot/AFP/Getty

Sephora is ready to take action.

For an hour on Wednesday morning, June 5, the beauty retail giant will be shutting down all U.S. stores, distribution centers and corporate offices to hold a company-wide inclusion workshop. This announcement comes about a month after Grammy-nominated singer SZA accused an employee at the Calabasas store of racial profiling.

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For a quick refresh: On April 30, the “All the Stars” singer Tweeted that while she was shopping at the beauty retail chain in Calabasas, an employee called security on her to make sure she wasn’t stealing. “Can a b—h cop her fenty in peace er whut,” she added.

Sephora Something Beautiful
Courtesy of Sephora

The retailer responded with a formal apology stating that the complaints were being taken very seriously. “We are gathering more information about the incident in order to take the proper next steps,” it read.

The company shortly after announced their latest campaign — We Belong to Something Beautiful. “While it is true that SZA’s experience occurred prior to the launch of the We Belong to Something Beautiful campaign, the campaign was not the result of this Tweet,” the company said in a statement. “However, it does reinforce why belonging is now more important than ever.”

Sephora Fatima
Courtesy of Sephora

As part of the campaign launch, the retailer will begin to train it’s staff Wednesday morning, promoting an open a dialogue with employees on what it means to be inclusive. “This store closure is part of a long journey in our aspiration to create a more inclusive beauty community and workplace, which has included forming employee resource groups, building Social Impact and philanthropic programs, and hosting inclusive mindset training for all supervisors,” the brand said. “Our entire organization is excited to set aside this time to recommit to building an environment of inclusion. We’ll be discussing what it means to belong, across many different lenses that include, but are not limited to, gender identity, race and ethnicity, age, abilities, and more.”

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“Any time a brand makes a declaration of this nature, it invites critique whenever it does not live up to its own standards,” Sephora CMO Sephora Deborah Yeh said in a statement from the brand. “But rather than say nothing at all, we embrace this as a challenge for our entire organization. That’s the ‘never stop’ part of our commitment. We were one of the first beauty retails to ‘break the glass counter; by providing open access to explore and learn about prestige beauty. We pledge continues innovation and action for the benefit of our clients, our communities and our industry.”

Along with internal improvement, Sephora’s new initiative includes videos and images that celebrates all types of diversity.

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