July 23, 2017

‘She Says’? Kansas Paper’s Headline Doubts Contest Winner’s Claim of DQ Based on Trump Support

A Kansas woman who entered a national makeup artists contest has been disqualified from personally redeeming her prize after having been declared its winner. Why? Because, and only because, she posted on Instagram, without comment, a “Trump for President” 2016 graphic on Election Day last year. Despite having all the necessary evidence documenting what happdned, the Wichita Eagle’s related story headline only concedes that this is something Gypsy Freeman only “says.”

The “Saint + Sinner Contest” was sponsored by Kat Von D Beauty, the namesake line produced by Katherine von Drachenberg, described as “an American tattoo artist, model, musician, entrepreneur, and television personality.” Von D’s products are sold by cosmetics giant Sephora, which is a subsidiary of publicly held LVMH, the self-described “world’s leading luxury products group,” whose annual sales total 37.6 billion euros ($44 billion at current exchange rates).

The Friday morning Wichita Eagle report by Matt Riedl also inexplicably seemed to cast doubt on Freeman’s claim (bolds are mine):

Wichitan won national contest, was disqualified for supporting Trump, she says

An Instagram post showing support for President Donald Trump apparently disqualified a local makeup artist from a national contest.

Gypsy Freeman … the winner of the Saint + Sinner Contest – and a guest – was to be flown to Los Angeles to attend the launch party of a new makeup line from Kat Von D, perhaps best known for her role on “LA Ink.” The approximate value of the prize package, which included a $500 gift card to Sephora, was $2,100.

… When Freeman was announced as the winner, curious Instagrammers went to her page and found a pro-Trump post from Election Day last year.

That evening, she received a direct message from Kat Von D’s personal Instagram account, telling her the celebrity had “drawn a personal line in the sand between myself and anyone who supports that man,” according to screenshots of the conversation.

The “pro-Trump post” is merely the online equivalent of a Trump bumper sticker. It has no accompanying commentary, but lots of subsequent comments and back and forth between Freeman and commenters, and is the only one of 121 Instagram posts not involving Freeman’s art or inspirational and motivational quotes.

Continuing, as we being to ultimately learn that Von D was willing to accept Freeman’s entry, but doesn’t want to be seen anywhere near her:

“My launch party [and my brand] celebrates many things that Trump is against,” the celebrity went on to say, according to the screenshots. “And I just need you to know that I personally have a hard time with inviting anyone who would support such an anti-feminist, anti-homosexual/LGBT, anti-immigrant, and anti-climate change fascist such as Trump.”

According to the screenshots, Freeman replied: “I won’t be upset with you if you can’t have us there for these reasons, and I wish you the best.”

But that wasn’t enough for Von D, who simply had to double down with the venom:

The celebrity then replied, according to the screenshots provided: “It’s not about inviting people based on their political stance – it’s just extremely difficult (borderline impossible) for me to be friends with or associate with anyone who would support a man who goes against everything I stand for. I would feel the same way towards people who supported Hitler, or any other fascist.”

The Florida-based photographer who took the photos for Freeman’s entry, Jenn Bischof, was invited to – and attended – the launch party in her place, Freeman said. A post on Bischof’s Instagram account shows her at the party alongside Kat Von D.

All evidence of the contest’s existence has since been deleted from the brand’s Instagram account and website, though the contest rules are available in a cached version of the site.

Riedl missed the fact that the contest rules are still available at KatVonDbeauty.com.

Given the evidence and the paper’s follow-up work, it’s hard to see why the Eagle’s headline writer turned the matter into something Gypsy Freeman only “says,” or that Riedl could only describe as the whole saga as “apparent.” That’s especially true because Eagle presented all of the message-related screenshots in a series of nine photos at the end of Riedl’s report. A complete rundown of Von D’s messages is here.

Three other matters not addressed in Riedl’s report which can be found in those messages are worth noting:

  • Von D claimed that “the purpose of me contacting you privately was specifically to avoid any embarrassment.” Whose “embarrassment,” Von D’s or Freeman’s? It seems likely that Von D was trying to avoid her own embarrassment, but that she couldn’t intimidate Freeman into silence.
  • When Freeman pointed out there was no politics-related stipulation in the contest rules, Von D responded that she wouldn’t have thought of it because “Most people know where I stand on such a matter.” In other words, contestants are supposed to fully research the sponsor’s political and personal beliefs before they decide whether or not to put forth the effort involved in creating an entry and risk submitting something to someone who disagrees with them. Really?
  • Further, Von D claimed that “I have found it rare to find many people in the artist community who do stand on the side of Trump — especially because we are the outsiders.” Von D isn’t filthy rich, but anyone who had an estimated net worth of $5 million in 2015 has a lot of nerve trying to pretend to be an outsider. But the myth that rich celebrities are somehow still “outsiders” is something the entertainment press (which your author obviously recognizes does not include the Wichita Eagle) has been willing to indulge for decades.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.



  1. That’s rich, she calls Trump fascist while she only lets people who agree with her idiotic views win her stupid contests. What nerve.

    Comment by zf — July 23, 2017 @ 6:53 pm

  2. Sad.

    This may also hurt JC-Penney, which has Sephora as a ‘store within a store’ concept.

    Comment by Cornfed — July 23, 2017 @ 9:51 pm

  3. Well, it should, unless Sephora responds appropriately.

    Comment by Tom — July 24, 2017 @ 12:11 am

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