The CEO of LuLaRoe is being ridiculed for Instagram posts suggesting that people in Guatemala speak "Guatemalan" (which the company claims is a typo) and for using the "tone-deaf" hashtag #guatsuplularoe.
On Sunday, an Instagram photo of three Guatemalan girls sitting on a doorstep posted by LuLaRoe founder DeAnne Stidham (whose account is private) was shared by a member of a private Facebook group for current and former sellers of the multilevel marketing company.
"This might be a new low," wrote a Facebook member alongside the photo.
Stidham's post read, "OMG, look at these precious little girls! When I asked their mom if I could take these photos, she was honored and so were they!!! loved how sweet they were as they patiently waited for mom to shop besides us!!! #guatsuplularoe They're dressed in their traditional styles - most women and men only wear the clothing they embroidered in the areas each Guatemalan resides!"
Commenters chided Stidham for posting a photo of underage children to social media and for the hashtag #guatsuplularoe (presumably a play on "What's up?") which someone called "in awful taste." LuLaRoe allegedly uses the hashtag with photos taken on company trips to Guatemala, where it manufactures clothing.
"Yea, not cool then," wrote a person on Facebook. "I served on a musical missions team that spent several weeks in Guatemala and have several Guatemalan friends who I am very close with. They call Guatemala 'Guate' (sounds like huateh with a soft t), but never 'Guat.'"
Elsewhere on Facebook, someone posted a screenshot of another Stidham post, snapped in Guatemala, in which she allegedly wrote, "Got up this morning to leave this beautiful place Lake Atitlan and knew that this was the perfect outfit - Madison skirt + Christy Tee and this cute hand woven Kimono (in Guatemalan they call it a poncho). I'm ready to head to Antigua for more exploring!"
Someone wrote under the post, "Pretty sure in Guatemala they speak Spanish. … In American, they call you an idiot." A person who identified herself as "a frustrated Guatemalan" pointed out that the "Kimono" in question was not a poncho. Someone else posted, "But white people have nabbed the word kimono and now use it for any damn flowy non-knit cardigan."
A woman on Facebook also posted an amended version of Deanne's Instagram post to reflect the fact that she had removed the phrase "In Guatemalan, they call it a poncho."
A representative from LuLaRoe tells Yahoo Lifestyle that "'Guats Up'" is a phrase that is often seen on souvenirs in Guatemala, adding that articles reference the phrase going back nearly a decade" and that "the sentence was 'in Guatemala they call it a poncho.' There was a typo which was corrected immediately."
LuLaRoe has faced troubles over the past few years, battling lawsuits over the quality of its leggings, which people have called "wet toilet paper," and for operating as a "pyramid scheme."