Jeffree Star calls out Sunday Riley for creating fake reviews to boost sales

24 October 2019, 14:10 | Updated: 24 October 2019, 14:56

Jazmin Duribe

By Jazmin Duribe


Jeffree Star has made a career out of giving his brutally honest critique, and when it came to the Sunday Riley controversy, Ms Star made his opinion known. The YouTuber called the skincare brand out on Twitter after it was discovered that Sunday Riley employees created fake reviews between November 2015 and August 2017 to boost their sales.
In case you're not up to speed, Sunday Riley is a luxury skincare brand, which was founded by the Sunday Riley in 2009. Known for its cult products like Good Genes and Luna Sleeping Night Oil, the Texas-based beauty business were investigated by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and recently reached a settlement.

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Sunday Riley was exposed after an email from a former employee was shared on Reddit in October 2018. Apparently, employees were encouraged to create profiles and post "at least three reviews" of their Saturn Sulfur Acne Treatment Mask and other products. Btw, according to the FTC, that's illegal.

Jeffree Star YouTube video, Sunday Riley products.
Jeffree Star YouTube video, Sunday Riley products. Picture: JeffreeStar via YouTube, @sundayriley via Instagram

In the email, Sunday Riley is said to have instructed employees on what to write in their reviews and how to hide their IP address so the false reviews couldn't be traced back to them.

"When reviewing Saturn please address things like how cooling it felt, the green colour, the non-drying mask effect, radiance boosting, got rid of your acne after a couple of uses," the email reads. "It helps to make yourself relatable – like you know how hard acne is and you've tried everything and this one actually works or mention things like yes, it's a little more expensive, but works incredibly well compared to the cheaper masks out there."

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When beauty Instagram account Estee Laundry shared the email, Sunday Riley admitted the truth and apologised… kind of. They said: "As many of you may know, we are making an effort to bring more transparency to our clients. The simple and official answer to this Reddit post is that yes, this email was sent by a former employee to several members of our company.

"At one point, we did encourage people to post positive reviews at the launch of this products, consistent with their experiences. There are a lot of reasons for doing that, including the fact that competitors will often post negative reviews of products to swing opinion.

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"It doesn't really matter what the reasoning was. We have hundreds of thousands of reviews across platforms around the globe and it would be physically impossible for us to have posted even a fraction of these reviews. Client word-of-mouth, sharing how our products have changed their skin, has been the cornerstone of our success. In the end, our products and their results stand for themselves."

Sunday Riley has now reached a settlement and surprisingly the FTC decided not to fine them. However, they were ordered to stop posting fake reviews, BuzzFeed News reports.

Jeffree Star, who owns Jeffree Star Cosmetics, said the news made him "fucking sick" and called out the brand on Twitter.

He tweeted: "THIS MAKES ME FUCKING SICK!!!! Brands having their own employees post fake reviews to manipulate the customer. Huge lawsuit was settled today... Wow. The FTC is not playing games."

The internet wasn't very forgiving either…

What do you think? Will you be buying from Sunday Riley again? Tweet us @popbuzz and let us know!