LuLaRoe under fire after not splitting with Arizona consultant who mocked special needs

Credit: A screenshot from LuLaRoe's website on Jan. 30, 2018.

LuLaRoe under fire after not splitting with Arizona consultant who mocked special needs

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LuLaRoe under fire after not splitting with Arizona consultant who mocked special needs

LuLaRoe is making headlines again this week.

The multilevel marketing company known for its leggings is facing backlash after one of its consultant duos, a couple based in Gilbert, Ariz., filmed a video in which the man pulls his face horizontally and says in a distorted voice:

“My name is Robert. I’m special. My name is Robert, and I am really special.”

It is unclear how long the video stayed online before being taken down, but it has since been re-uploaded under another YouTube account. The couple, Taya and Bobby Budenbender, have uploaded a 16-minute-long apology video.

LuLaRoe founders Mark and DeAnne Stidham addressed the controversy last Friday on the company Facebook page, announcing they had accepted the consultants’ apology and would not be terminating the relationship. 

“This fundamental difference in how we view education and awareness initiatives – joined with our commitment to not fight intolerance with eradication – ultimately contributed to our decision to end this relationship,” the company said.

NDSS Organization cuts ties

Unfortunately for LuLaRoe, the National Down Syndrome Society, whom the company had a partnership with, was not OK with it and decided to cut ties, saying, in part:

“This video is unacceptable and further perpetuates the stigmas we work to fight and end each and every day at NDSS.”

The “Scarlett” dress was named after LuLaRoe’s founders’ granddaughter who was born with Down syndrome. They donated $1 to NDSS for every “Scarlett” dress sold.
Many online users have criticized the consultant couple for delivering an insincere apology and voiced surprise that the two were not dropped from the company.
While the overwhelming response has been negative, some people online felt the situation was blown out of proportion:

Taya Budenbender’s reaction to the backlash

BuzzFeed News on Jan. 29 reported that Taya Budenbender commented on the controversy in her private LuLaRoe Facebook group, saying in part, “We get it…Haters gonna hate. … We aren’t perfect and don’t pretend to be.”

Click here to view that comment.

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