Lush North America distances itself from Lush UK over donations to anti-trans pressure group Woman’s Place UK

Nick Duffy December 2, 2020
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Cosmetics brand Lush is facing criticism over its donations to Woman's Place UK

Cosmetics brand Lush is facing criticism over its donations to Woman's Place UK (Dinendra Haria/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty)

The North American branch of Lush has distanced itself from the UK operation over donations to an anti-trans pressure group.

The UK cosmetics chain has faced a tidal wave of anger from the LGBT+ community after it admitted it gave £3,000 of “charity” funding to Woman’s Place UK, an anti-trans lobbying group.

Lush admitted making the donation in a statement to PinkNews on Tuesday (1 December), failing to apologise for doing so while insisting “we do not believe that trans rights are a threat to women’s rights”.

As the UK chain walked away from social media in 2019, much of the anger has been wrongly directed at the North America branch of the cosmetics chain, which has been left to deal with customer complaints on Twitter.

Lush North America: ‘We condemn transphobia and are committed to trans rights’

Lush North America, which spans the US and Canadian operations, made clear: “At Lush, we believe trans rights are human rights, period.

“While we can’t speak to the funding choices of our UK partners, in North America we partnered with Trans Equality and Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity to raise $450,000 for trans-led organisations in 2018. Trans lives matter.”

The brand added: “At Lush North America we do not have any say in the running of Lush UK, but we condemn transphobia and are committed to fighting for trans rights.”

Cosmetics brand Lush admitted giving money to the group
The Cosmetics brand has admitted giving money to the group (John Keeble/Getty)

When a customer pointed out that the North America operation is still technically owned by the UK brand, the account responded: “There is some truth here – however, Lush North America does not control how Lush UK allocates their funds, and likewise. All we can say at this time is that Lush North America stands for trans rights at all times. Thank you.”

The cosmetics chain and its North American branches have been at odds for some time on a number of issues, with the UK company filing court papers in September asking a judge to “liquidate and dissolve” its Canadian operation amid the business dispute.

The court filings claimed that the head of the Vancouver-based operation had “rejected Lush’s brand decisions and input into corporate decision”, and had shown a “pattern of conduct and behaviour [that] demonstrates his intent to exclude Lush from the business and to exclude Lush Canada from the benefits of Lush’s global brand and expertise”.

Lush UK did not return a request for further comment amid calls for an apology to the trans community.

It is not the first time that a tidal wave of transphobia in the UK has caused consternation in the US. In 2018, The Guardian newspaper was denounced by journalists from its US arm for taking a “transphobic” editorial stance.

More: lush, transphobia, Woman's Place UK

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