Chatter: Content, Consequence, and Controversy

Grab a cup of coffee or tea – I’ve got a wall of chatter for you today.

What a shame it is that a content creator cannot issue a straightforward (not harsh, nasty, or spiteful) review of a product. Or, perhaps, she can – but not without being lambasted for being a bully, or for, “sabotaging swatches,” or for, “having it out for,” or, “being jealous AF of,” whoever collaborated on the product.


Let’s call a spade a spade. Jaclyn Hill has a bit of a blemished history when it comes to collaborations.

  • 1995, her shade with scandal-ridden Gerard Cosmetics. Sure, the lipstick was apparently fine – but when things went sideways with the whole Manny and Jen fiasco, she could (and should) have been more tactful regarding her choice (which I agree with) to end her relationship with Gerard.
  • Champagne Pop, from Becca, flew off the shelves to a ridiculous degree. The spinoff palette, unfortunately, was a failure. Because Jaclyn for some reason refuses to hire competent PR people (read: not her mom and sister) to help her navigate such sticky situations, she bombed spectacularly when she unceremoniously turned the blame at Becca.
    Sure, it was Becca’s manufacturing process. But when your name is on a product, you are at least partially culpable. There’s also plenty of constructive ways to respond to ugly situations without saying, “It’s their fault! I’m innocent!” Yeah – real professional.
  • Then, Morphe. There was talk for over a year about a second Jaclyn collab palette with them…when info should have been released, it was withheld despite a leak. When it should have launched, it was delayed with little-to-no acknowledgment, let alone explanation, as to why (beyond wishy washy excuses and denials of it being what was leaked). Eventually, it launched – and spoilers: it was exactly what was leaked. The shadows aren’t a special formula, and as far as I can tell (from the few people honest enough to create content without either a) being in Morphe’s pocket or b) trying to impress brands, or Jaclyn, or whomever) it isn’t worth the price.
    I haven’t bought their products, I don’t plan to, so I can’t comment on quality from a first-hand point of view. I can say, however, that I’m not surprised.

Over the years, there’s been a cult of personality developed around Jaclyn. Now, there’s a fairly venomous fanbase who seems to think she can do no wrong. They are so active, so pervasive, that they are attacking content creators who are even just vaguely critical. Not even critical of Jaclyn herself, but suggesting that Product X, although decent, is not quite worth Price Tag $Y. Not saying, “don’t buy this,” or, “this is garbage,” or, “wow, what a failure,” just, “From a value standpoint, there are better options,” and, “there seem to be some inconsistencies in how this product is being presented – here is how I got these results.”


In a sub-industry inundated with nothing but positive reviews, even fans cannot deal with even the slightest hint of honest yet sensitive criticism. Dare to tell the truth that something didn’t blow you away? You’re obviously a hater, just jealous of others’ successes.

That’s a mature, well-reasoned argument now, isn’t it? It is possible to be impressed by someone’s career successes and simultaneously critical of products they are associated with. These are not mutually exclusive ideas!

Many of the fans losing their minds on those brave enough to issue criticism are young, impressionable ladies who think their behavior is just fine … online. Naturally, none of them would be willing to be so brazen in real life. Having a rabid fanbase so drunk on your cult of personality, however, does reduce the positive perception others may have had and reduces your credibility. No, it isn’t as if Jaclyn is telling these people to go hiss at, “her haters.” But she isn’t asking them not to, either – and people in her camp do support this behavior.

This behavior has some content creators refusing to even touch the product for fear of the drama that will inevitably ensue. It has others, who did a great job approaching the matter respectfully and maturely, refusing to engage with their followers any further for fear of inciting more issue. That is not okay.

Repeat After Me: Criticism is NOT a Fate Worse than Death

Criticism in and of itself is not a negative thing. Yes, of course there are ways to issue it that are – but so much of the vitriol I’m seeing on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, etc. is not in response to negative or nasty content. It is in response to earnest, thoughtful content that is clearly making great effort to not bash the product or Jaclyn.

We must ALL face criticism in our lives. Sometimes it is thoughtless garbage. It isn’t always. If you think you’re so above reproach that you should never, ever be criticized? My, you have some growing to do. I suggest starting with getting off the YouTube and Instagram comments section and doing some soul-searching.

For the rest of you (us), we should encourage professional, thoughtful content creators to create as they intend. We need more of their work! We need honest, thoughtful reviews and discussions…even if the peanut gallery thinks otherwise.

…and Before You Think think this is a Jaclyn Bash…

–it isn’t. I think it is quite impressive that Jaclyn has been able to establish and grow her brand over the past few years. At something like age 26 or 27, she has successfully built a lucrative career in an industry and format that is difficult to grow in without years of experience behind you. When it came to 1995 and Champagne Pop, she clearly has an eye for what will be on trend, and she worked to establish relationships to create in such a way to capitalize on that. For someone who does NOT have an experienced management team or higher education behind her? That’s incredible! …but she still has opportunities to grow.