News & Politics

Christian Makeup Artist Sues M.A.C. Cosmetics for Forcing Him to Wear Lipstick, False Eyelashes

Married minister, father and makeup artist Barry Jones has filed suit against cosmetic powerhouse M.A.C. Cosmetics in a federal religious discrimination lawsuit.  Jones “alleges that M.A.C. required him to wear makeup if he wanted to obtain certification to become a full-time makeup artist with the company.”

The company requires their makeup artists to wear makeup so the artists are familiar with the products.

Jones said he agreed only to wear concealer to hide his acne while working at the mall. But during his makeup training classes, where he and other students practiced putting makeup on each other, he refused to wear blush, eye shadow, lipstick and fake eyelashes because of his “sincerely held religious beliefs.”

Jones is an ordained elder in the Church of God in Christ and says the Bible forbids men from looking like women. He cites Deuteronomy 22:5  “A woman shall not wear man’s clothing, nor shall a man put on a woman’s clothing; for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD your God.”

He recited the passage to his trainers.

“It was a very unusual experience,” Jones told the Free Press of his cosmetic classes. “They went around the table. They gave us trays of makeup. … I said, ‘I’m an ordained minister. I don’t wear makeup.’ But the instructor said, ‘No, everyone needs to experience the makeup. You have to put the makeup on.'”

“He caught me in the office and said … ‘You do understand that we wanted you to wear the makeup,'” Jones recalled the manager telling him. “‘The next training you go to, there will be no compromise. You will wear makeup. You will put on the lipstick. You will put on the blush … make a choice.'”

“It’s against my religion for me to do anything that would cause me to look like a woman,” Jones said. “I’m an ordained minister. I’ve been preaching for 19 years … I don’t want my integrity to be called into question within my organization because I have on makeup.”

Jones is the minister at the Gordy Memorial Church of God in Christ.  He has been pursuing his interest in makeup since he was 19.

Jones wanted to become a M.A.C. trainer, but the makeup issue got in the way.  He recalled telling his managers: “‘I don’t want to be pretty. I just want to be a handsome man, do my job and leave.’ “

After refusing to wear the makeup while training, Jones was demoted to “freelance” artist. He said he cannot find any work.

First, he filed a complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which granted him a “Right to Sue” letter.

On Monday, he filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging religious discrimination.

“Mr. Jones was trying to pursue his passion and better himself, and for him to be required to violate his religious belief as a condition of employment is outrageous,” said his attorney, Shereef Akeel. “When you have a religious belief, as long as it’s sincerely held, you don’t’ have to question whether it’s right or wrong. It’s whether that person possessed a sincerely held belief.”