Kendall Jenner is facing backlash following the announcement of her new tequila brand, 818 tequila. The Keeping Up with the Kardashians star made the announcement Tuesday, revealing she had been working on crafting the "best tasting" tequila for nearly four years. While many celebrated her newest business endeavor, however, the criticism was just as swift, with Jenner facing accusations of cultural appropriation.
In the announcement, shared alongside a gallery of images and videos, Jenner wrote that she has spent years "on a journey to create the best tasting tequila." According to the starlet, crafting 818 Tequila took "dozens of blind taste tests, trips to our distillery, entering into world tasting competitions anonymously and WINNING." Jenner said her brand is "all we've been drinking for the last year" and expressed her excitement for everyone else to get their hands on this to enjoy it as much as we do!"
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Reactions to the post were swift, and soon Jenner found herself at the center of controversy on both Instagram and Twitter. For many, Jenner's endeavor into tequila was another example of cultural appropriation. Some expressed concern her launch could affect local producers and small businesses, while others took issue with the name of her brand, 818, which is the Calabasas area code.
"Something about Kendall Jenner making tequila rubs me the wrong way," one Twitter user wrote. "Like the idea of white celebrities taking from local Mexican artisans and profiting off our traditions and agricultural business yet only visit Cabos and Puerto Vallarta for vacation spots…And not to mention profit off the brown hands that actually plant, grow, harvest ferment and distill the agave plants in Jalisco."
In a Twitter thread, another person said that Jenner "starting a tequila brand, with zero knowledge on Mexican culture and calling it '818 tequila' is GENTRIFICATION." That person went on to ask, "what about those smaller, family owned Mexican tequila/mezcal brands? They deserve the hype & support." That person added, "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?"
Somebody else took aim at the KarJenner family as a whole, writing, "Their entire family only does stuff for money, im not surprised. Instead of lifting up some other smaller brands, they'd rather sell themselves out for lucrative big name brand deals than give anything for free."
At this time, Jenner has not responded to the backlash. Jenner is just the latest celebrity to launch a tequila brand, with Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Nick Jonas, George Clooney, and others also having their own brands.