“Miscommunication” surrounding a recent Tarte brand trip left TikTok influencer Bria Jones feeling like a “second-tier person.”
If you’re an avid TikTok user, odds are you’ve heard the name Tarte come across your “For You” page at some point this weekend. For those not tapped into the world of beauty influencers or “BlackTok,” here’s everything you need to know about this situation.
This weekend, content creators, specifically Black content creators, rallied behind fellow influencer Bria Jones (@heybriajones) after she posted a now-deleted video expressing her frustrations after being invited on Tarte’s Formula 1 Miami trip. The lifestyle influencer explained how, despite her excitement to go on the trip, she “has more integrity than to get all the way to Miami and realize that [she’s] being treated like a second-tier person.”
Jones explains how she was initially very excited to be invited on the brand’s “Traveling with Tarte” trip to Formula 1 (F1), a prestigious racing competition in Miami. But upon looking at her travel itinerary, the lifestyle influencer realized the brand scheduled her to go home a day earlier than her fellow influencers on the trip. Reportedly scheduled to arrive on Thursday and leave on Friday, Jones would not have been able to experience the actual racing competition on Sunday and would only attend the practices leading up to the main event.
“I will be damned as a Black creator if I accept anything other than equal treatment on these trips,” she said in her video.
After learning that her other content creator friends were scheduled to leave Miami on Monday, Jones couldn’t help but feel she was being treated unfairly. In her video, she acknowledges that her “numbers are not like some of these other creators”; however, that did not justify an invited guest being left out of the main events.
“As grateful as I am to be invited on a Tarte trip, I was sad to realize my experience was going to be different than my friends that were also invited,” Jones wrote in her caption, as reported by Elite Daily. “I have been on many brand trips, and typically, everyone is treated the same, so this caught me off guard. I wish I had the heads up.”
Shortly after Jones’ video went viral, Tarte’s CEO Maureen Kelly posted a TikTok in response. Wanting to “clear the air,” Kelly deemed the situation a miscommunication, blaming ignorance from the Tarte team regarding how F1 weekend worked. According to the CEO, the brand prioritizes fun during their Traveling with Tarte experiences and was not thinking about “what was going on, on the track.” Kelly shares that the plan was for every content creator to experience “one day at the track, one really nice dinner, and one really fun night at the club.”
In a statement to Insider, Tarte’s CMO, Sam Kitain, said the miscommunication resulted from the staggered arrivals and departures of all the influencers invited to the three-day event.
However, this is not the first time Tarte has been called out for its influencer trips; as Kelly alludes to in her video, the brand has made its “share of mistakes.” At the top of this year, social media called out Tarte for a lack of diversity in an influencer trip to Dubai, United Arab Emirates. More recently, Cynthia Victor (@shawtysin), an influencer of color who attended the brand’s recent trip to Turks and Caicos, felt like she got “the short end of the stick” after noticing she received a notably smaller room compared to other influencers on the trip.
Following the viral discourse surrounding her video, Jones deactivated her account and revealed to Insider that she experienced “online bullying and death threats” due to the situation. However, on Sunday, the lifestyle influencer temporarily reactivated her account to share a post captioned, “The situation with Tarte has been resolved, and all parties are glad to be moving forward positively.”
“I’ve been in contact with Maureen and the Tarte team, and we are very much so on the same page with everything,” said Jones in a new video updating her followers. “There was miscommunication on both ends, and I recognize my mistake for responding so quickly and publicly. But Tarte has done a great job at working through the situation with me.”
Jones also revealed that the entire situation had taken a toll on her mental health, and she will be taking a break from social media.
“Unfortunately, we’re real people, and the comments and threats really get to you,” stated a joint statement between Tarte and Jones. “We both feel for anyone who’s had to go through something like this.”
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