As Sephora closes its stores for ‘inclusion training,’ it faces another online backlash — and it reveals a massive problem for companies in the social-media era

  • Sephora is facing backlash on social media after customers interpreted an Instagram comment about international shipping as its taking sides in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
  • Instagram’s formatting seems to have muddled Sephora’s message, which the company says was “about shipping capabilities only.”
  • At the same time, Sephora is closing all of its stores in the US for unrelated “inclusion training” on Wednesday morning.
  • Recent incidents reveal how important it is that companies prepare for social media-inspired public-relations crises.

As Sephora closes its stores for “inclusion training,” the beauty company is facing a separate wave of backlash on social media.

This week, Sephora’s Instagram posts have been flooded with comment after comment of Israeli and Palestinian flags, making the account an unlikely center for furious debate over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Sephora appears to have been pulled into the discourse regarding Palestinians’ pursuit of statehood after a commenter asked whether the company shipped to Israel. According to the company, the commenter then asked whether the company shipped to “Palestine.”

Sephora does not ship to Israel or the Palestinian territories of Gaza and the West Bank, but in screenshots circulating on social media, Instagram’s collapsed comment layout makes it appear as if the company responded to the question “Do you ship to isreal??” with the statement “We do not ship to Palestine at this time.”

Read the article by Kate Taylor on Business Insider Australia.