Makeup guru Jeffree Star recently announced that he's had $2.5 million worth of his makeup products stolen, and he says that the FBI is investigating. But it's not just the feds who are trying to find out who's behind the theft. Many people are playing "Internet detective" by going on social media and pointing to sellers they suspect are peddling bootleg Jeffree Star makeup, while some of the sellers are vehemently denying it. It's an example of how information on the Internet can blur the lines between giving helpful tips or possibly being a witch hunt.
On April 2, Star revealed in a YouTube video that he found out that the theft occurred on March 15 at one of the warehouses that has products from Jeffree Star Cosmetics, the California-based, privately owned company that he launched in 2014. One of the stolen products was the Magic Star concealer, which has not been released yet. Star also said “thousands” of his products were also stolen, including Northern Lights Supreme Frost Pro Palettes and Platinum Ice Skin Frost Pro Palettes.
“I fully believe it’s an inside job,” Star said in the video. “I’ve hired an entire investigative team,” he added.
Since the theft, mysterious, unauthorized photos have been leaked online of the Magic Star concealer. Star said in the YouTube video that he tried to contact as many people as possible to remove the unauthorized photos, and he said that most of the people have complied. In the YouTube video, Star claimed that a woman who allegedly posted an illegal photo of the Magic Star concealer is now “in jail,” and he thinks there’s a strong probability that she knows who’s behind the theft.
Star later commented on Twitter: “We are slowly unraveling all the evidence and finding all the people who are in possession of my products and who their sources are. The makeup black market is so twisted and has several layers. I can't believe something I worked so hard on is floating around all over the world.”
Star said that he is fully insured for his products, and he asked people to send alerts if they see what they think is the stolen merchandise.
The conspiracy theorists are out in force. People have been posting screenshots of what they think are people selling bootleg Jeffree Star makeup.
In direct response to Star, one of the accused went on this Twitter rant, calling him “an uninformed idiot,” and denying that the merch that she was selling is stolen. She continued, “I purchased all my Jeffree Star lippies and have receipts, but you wouldn’t know that would you? Because people like you have turned this into a witch hunt. The same lipsticks I had are being sold at Burlington Coat Factory. They were legally obtained.”
The controversy has also inspired some creative memes, including one that joked that Kat Von D (one of Star’s ex-friends who’s feuded with him) was responsible for the theft.
And in this era of people being suspicious of “fake news” and hoaxes staged for publicity, some people on the Internet have also questioned if the theft was fabricated or exaggerated. Star’s fans have been quick to shut down the naysayers, leading to more Internet drama. Star and his representatives did not respond to requests for comment.
Because Jeffree Star Cosmetics is privately owned, the company is not obligated to make its financial earnings public. However, Forbes estimated that Jeffree Star Cosmetics does about $100 million in annual sales, and Star’s income was $18 million in 2018, making him one of the world’s Top 5 highest-earning YouTube stars.