On Friday, a judge in Canada ruled for the ouster of Brandon Truaxe, founder and CEO of skincare company Deciem. After a ten-month rollercoaster on the Instagram account, a closely-followed spectacle of abrupt firings and erratic images, Truaxe announced via a confessional video on Monday that the company was shutting down, closing several stores as early as Tuesday. Estée Lauder Cos. Inc.–which owns 28 percent of the business–asked the judge for an injunction to allow co-CEO Nicola Kilner to step in in the interim. The request claims that the social media presence and an email blast from Truaxe announcing the firing of Kilner and CFO Anand Khanzode have been “causing irreparable harm to Deciem’s business, and chaos and confusion for Deciem’s employees, customers, consumers, suppliers, landlords and other stakeholders.”
Via Women’s Wear Daily:
“This is not only causing irreparable harm to the Estée Lauder Cosmetics’ investment in Deciem, but it is harming Estée Lauder’s reputation because Estée Lauder has an equity ownership in, and therefore an association with, Deciem.”
The company is best known for its line The Ordinary, a Kim Kardashian fave, which is known for its concentration of natural, active ingredients.
Over the course of the year, the company Instagram account–which Truaxe commandeered in January–has been making announcements with less-than-glamorous images, such as seven photos of garbage piles in Morocco to announce that they would eliminate plastic packaging and a dead sheep to announce that they would not test on animals. He also used Instagram captions to announce that the company would be cutting ties with other lipcare brand Esho, fire executives like Kilner, and recommend a skin lightener to a commenter who wrote “Brandon, are you okay??”, which had customers lighting their Deciem products on fire. Throughout, he’s been writing emails to the press about firings and in return yielding terrible Glassdoor reviews.
In the final Instagram video (now-deleted), Truaxe claimed that “almost everyone at DECIEM has been involved in a major criminal activity which includes financial crimes and much other[s].” He tagged Donald Trump in the post and reportedly captioned it with a long list of people supposedly facing criminal prosecution, including Brad Pitt and George Clooney as well as Estée Lauder, Tom Ford, H&M, and more.
A spokesperson for Lauder told WWD that they would be helping as Deciem “resume[s] operations” soon.