March 2, 2021

DCTRS

Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

Kendall Jenner launches a tequila brand. Nope, says Twitter

Reality TV star Kendall Jenner’s new tequila brand is leaving a bad taste in the mouths of many on social media.

Earlier this week, the model and “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” heiress unveiled her 818 line of tequila, named for the San Fernando Valley area code (Jenner grew up in the affluent suburb of Calabasas). The collection includes three varieties: “Añejo Tequila,” “Reposado Tequila” and “Blanco Tequila.”

“for almost 4 years i’ve been on a journey to create the best tasting tequila,” Jenner wrote Wednesday on social media.

“after dozens of blind taste tests, trips to our distillery, entering into world tasting competitions anonymously and WINNING … 3.5 years later i think we’ve done it! this is all we’ve been drinking for the last year and i can’t wait for everyone else to get their hands on this to enjoy it as much as we do!”

While many of Jenner’s celebrity friends — including some of her famous sisters — swiftly celebrated her new product launch in the comments, the tequila did not go down well with others on social media. A number of Twitter users immediately took shots at Jenner, accusing her of appropriating Mexican culture while encouraging their followers to support “family-owned Mexican tequila/mezcal brands” instead.

“Kendall Jenner starting a tequila brand, with zero knowledge of Mexican culture and calling it ‘818 tequila’ is GENTRIFICATION. … The 818 does not claim Calabasas,” tweeted Jennie Molina, a health justice advocate from the San Fernando Valley, which is home to many Mexican immigrants.

“It could have been any other white woman from a wealthy area profiting off of Latinx culture. My point is they claim the 818 when it benefits them, but do they claim what’s real? Do they even know that the 818 has some of the poorest cities in LA? 15 miles NE of Calabasas?”

Several also pointed out that, in Spanish, the names of Jenner’s tequila products don’t make grammatical sense. For example, the adjective “blanco,” meaning “white,” should come after the noun, “tequila,” that it is describing.

“I’m laughing that Kendall Jenner spent 4 years making her tequila and the words are placed wrong,” Twitter user @gat0linaa wrote. “Wtf is ‘blanco tequila’ lol.”

Reps for Jenner did not respond Friday to The Times’ request for comment.

The Kardashian-Jenner squad has sparked many a cultural-appropriation scandal in the past. To name a few: Queen Bee Kim Kardashian West‘s since-rebranded “Kimono” shapewear collection, beauty mogul Kylie Jenner’s cornrows, Kim Kardashian’s cornrows and Khloe Kardashian’s cornrows.

And, of course, who could forget the infamous Pepsi commercial that landed Kendall Jenner in hot water a few years ago by suggesting that the fashion influencer could solve racism in America with a can of soda? More recently, Jenner ignited widespread outrage by hosting a star-studded 2020 birthday bash amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

And Jenner is far from the only non-Mexican celebrity to draw criticism for selling tequila. Other entertainment figures being called out on Twitter this week for their respective beverage brands in the wake of Jenner’s launch include Nick Jonas, George Clooney, Adam Levine, Justin Timberlake, Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul and Dwayne Johnson.

See more reactions to Jenner’s tequila news below.