Kendall Jenner's 818 Tequila Brand Faces Backlash Over Cultural Appropriation
Yet again, the Kardashian-Jenner clan is accused of profiting off other cultures.
Kendall Jenner is embroiled in controversy regarding her recently announced tequila brand, 818. The model, who took to Instagram to reveal her new business venture — which she describes as a “journey to create the best tasting tequila” — is being accused of cultural appropriation.
Social media users have pointed out that Jenner’s decision to launch a tequila brand is yet another example of white celebrities profiting off other cultures, in this case, Mexican traditions and the agriculture of Jalisco, where farmers harvest blue Weber agave (the key ingredient in tequila). One Twitter user explained that foreigners source tequila-making products in Tequila, Mexico, yet pay Mexican workers exploitative wages and fail to acknowledge the rich history and culture of the spirit. Another tweeted that Jenner’s venture exemplifies her ability to pick and choose which aspects of Mexican culture to respect: “Something about Kendall Jenner making tequila rubs me the wrong way..like the idea of white celebrities taking from local Mexican artisans and profiting off our traditions and agricultural business yet only visit Cabos and Puerto Vallarta for vacation spots,” the user wrote.
Jenner isn’t the only white celebrity to launch a tequila brand. In 2013, George Clooney and Rande Gerber (Kaia Gerber‘s father) founded Casamigos and in 2019, Nick Jonas launched Villa One in collaboration with designer John Varvatos, who is Greek-American. In response, Twitter and Instagram users have been working to compile lists of Mexican-owned tequila brands to support instead of 818.
Jenner hasn’t yet responded to the backlash against 818.