Le­gal in­ter­ven­tion ousts beauty firm founder

Times Colonist - - Business -

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.”

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