Legal intervention ousts beauty firm founder
TORONTO — The founder of Deciem, the self-professed “Abnormal Beauty Company,” saw his reign at the Toronto cosmetics brand come to an unusual end on Friday.
Brandon Truaxe was ousted from his role as the company’s chief executive and board member on an interim basis after a judge approved an Ontario court application from Estee Lauder Companies Inc., which holds a one-third stake in Deciem.
New York-based Estee Lauder pushed for Truaxe to be removed from the company, barred from “issuing statements or circulating media” on Deciem’s social-media accounts and restricted from talking to the company’s employees or making personnel and business changes to Deciem.
In its application, Estee Lauder said its fight to oust Truaxe was fuelled by hundreds of “outrageous, disturbing, defamatory, and/or offensive posts” he made on Deciem’s social-media pages over the past year that “harmed” the business and its reputation.
Estee Lauder pointed to a weekend Instagram post from Truaxe, where he announced Deciem operations would be shutting down until further notice and alluded to criminal misconduct.
“Please take me seriously,” he said, in the video that tagged dozens of celebrities and well-known brands including U.S. President Donald Trump. “Almost everyone at Deciem has been involved in a major criminal activity, which includes financial crimes and much other. You have no idea what a soldier I have been for 13 years.”
Mark Gelowitz, a lawyer representing Estee Lauder, said Truaxe’s Instagram posts and his decision to close the business had caused notices of breach from landlords, concerns from suppliers and legal claims from employees to start “piling up.”
“He has essentially lit the company on fire,” he told a judge. “Maybe he was once a diabolical marketing genius building the brand, but he’s gone too far.”