Kendall Jenner's tequila brand receives backlash from netizens for cultural appropriation

Published May 25, 2021, 5:59 PM

by John Legaspi

News about the release of her 818 tequila brand was announced last February 2021

Kendall Jenner launches tequila brand 818

Fashion model Kendall Jenner’s foray into the liquor business is met with criticisms as netizens call her out for culturally appropriating Mexican culture with her 818 tequila launch.

A post she made on Instagram on May 17, 2021 sparked online outrage on Twitter with users protesting to boycott her brand and buy from other woman-owned tequila labels instead. In the said post, the 25 year-old star of “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” is seen riding a horse in an agave farm in Jalisco, Mexico, with local farmers as well.

While it shows how Kendall dived into getting to know the culture and process behind the alcoholic drink, netizens continue to accuse her of whitewashing the craft of tequila production. Tweets pointed out things such as the wrong use of glass for tequila, exploiting the local farmers for marketing, and her trying to look like a Mexican woman when she is not.

News about Kendall’s 818 tequila first was first announced earlier this year in February 2021. While others took the opposing side, some defended her and said that people are only calling her out because she is a woman. Kendall was not the first to do this. Celebrities like Dwayne Johnson, George Clooney, and even Elon Musk have all produced their own line of tequila and never experienced such a situation.

In fact, according to the brand’s website, Kendall and her team have worked closely with family-owned businesses in manufacturing the tequila. In the simplest definition, cultural appropriation is adopting one’s culture and customs inappropriately or without acknowledging where it came from. To avoid this, many leaders from different industries not only tried to learn culture and visit locations, they also included people of the craft in the process of creating.

Although it didn’t state how much local businesses are earning from Kendall’s tequila, the brand pledges to donate one percent of revenue from every 818 bottles sold to nonprofit partners as one of its actions toward sustainability.

What do you think? Did she really take advantage of Mexican culture?