Ulta Beauty is responding to mass outrage today after their newsletter subscribers received an appalling email ad Sunday night. The subject line read, “Come hang with Kate Spade,” apparently hawking their new Kate Spade “Sparkle” perfume. Fans were taken aback by the brand’s lack of consideration after Spade tragically hanged herself in 2018 at the age of 55. We have many questions, but mainly: How many people had to greenlight this email before it went out, and what the hell were they thinking?
The controversy lit up Twitter. “I cannot believe I got this email today. Is this some kind of sick joke?” one user wrote of the company’s oversight.
Writer and activist Vilissa Thompson received the email as well and wondered, as a “former digital manager,” how anyone could make this error.
The cosmetics line, which has millions of subscribers, sent out an apology on Monday amid the backlash, saying the email was an unintentional error and that they are committed to making the infraction right. “Ulta Beauty recently sent an email featuring Kate Spade New York fragrance with an insensitive subject line and for this, we sincerely apologize,” a representative for the brand told the New York Post. “Mental health is a very serious, important issue in this country, and not something we would ever take lightly. We apologize to the Spade family, our Kate Spade New York brand partners and to our guests. Thank you for understanding as we strive to do better.”
The timing could not be worse for an error like this, as May kicks off Mental Health Awareness month. Spade’s husband, Andy, said at the time of his wife’s death that the fashion icon was battling a lot of “personal demons,” including anxiety and depression.
There are just no words for this kind of marketing error.
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or are experiencing a mental health crisis, you can dial the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.