Lush cosmetics apologizes to trans community over donation to U.K. group accused of being anti-transgender

Luxury cosmetics retailer Lush is apologizing for donating to a group with reported ties to…

Luxury cosmetics retailer Lush is apologizing for donating to a group with reported ties to anti-transgender causes in the U.K.

The apology comes days after British media outlets reported on a donation of about $4,000 made by the beauty giant to a charity group named Woman’s Place U.K.

Formed in 2017, the controversial organization defines itself as a “women’s rights campaign dedicated to ensuring women’s voices are heard and our sex-based rights upheld.”

Although it claims to be “neither hateful nor transphobic,” its campaigning efforts often focus on measures that are widely seen as anti-transgender.

According to the U.K-based LGBTQ news site Pink News, the beauty chain initially refused to directly apologize for the donation, adding that, “we do not believe that trans rights are a threat to women’s rights.”

But after a significant social media backlash ensued, Lush U.K. issued an updated statement apologizing to the transgender community.

Shoppers wait to enter a Lush cosmetics store with a Christmas theme on Black Friday weekend during the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic on November 28, 2020 in Berlin, Germany.
Shoppers wait to enter a Lush cosmetics store with a Christmas theme on Black Friday weekend during the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic on November 28, 2020 in Berlin, Germany.
Shoppers wait to enter a Lush cosmetics store with a Christmas theme on Black Friday weekend during the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic on November 28, 2020 in Berlin, Germany. (Sean Gallup/)

“To trans people and allies, we wish to say sorry for some past mistakes in our choices of donation recipients,” the company said in a statement posted on its website on Tuesday.

“For those of you that have joined this conversation from different places and have been left wondering whether Lush has deliberately funded campaigning against trans rights, we want to assure you that this would never be our intention and we are sincerely sorry that any of our funding has gone towards doing this,” the company added.

According to the statement, over the last five years Lush has given grants to 514 LGBTQ+ groups totaling about $2.1 million through its “charity pot” initiative.

“There is never going to be a system that eliminates all mistakes, but we really take due diligence seriously… we feel that money has gone to work that we would not feel proud to support and we wish to apologize unreservedly for that. We can assure you we are looking at all we do to try to strengthen our processes against further mistakes.”

Famous for its bath bombs — “the original fizzy bathtime treats” — the retailer has developed somewhat of a cult following for its animal rights activism and donations to a number of charities.

It proudly sells products that are 100% vegetarian and 80% vegan. According to Retail Week, the specialty beauty retailer operates around 950 stores globally and more than 100 in the U.K.

Lush North America was quick to distance itself from its European counterpart, writing on Twitter, “We believe that trans rights are humans rights. Period.”

A follow-up tweet read, “Woman’s Place UK is recognized for its transphobic campaigns against trans-inclusive initiatives.”

In a statement posted on its website, the organization wrote that, “We are very grateful to Lush for the generous grant of 3,000 pounds. This funding has helped us to ensure women’s voices have been heard in public debate. WPUK appreciates their clearly pluralist approach to grant giving. We applaud them in supporting the rights of a range of disadvantaged and oppressed groups.”