Kendall Jenner might be one of the most famous A-list celebrities in the world — but she’s facing major backlash after announcing that she’ll be launching her own brand of tequila, called Drink 818.
On Tuesday, February 16, Jenner made the announcement after almost four years of planning, testing, and anonymously entering competitions with their product that Drink 818 would be “coming soon.”
818 is a reference to the 818 area code in California, where Kendall and her famous Jenner-Kardashian family hail from.
While the announcement was initially met with a lot of congratulations and celebrations from friends and fans, Kendall is now under fire for ‘exploiting other people’s culture’ with the brand.
With a number of people stepping out to defend their Mexican heritage, something about Kendall’s tequila has clearly left a sour taste to some.
One commenter, Evelyn, said that the situation is “kind of sad,” saying it’s a perfect example of how “white people just love to exploit other people’s culture and make it their own for profit.”
No shade but Kendall Jenner coming out with a tequila brand is a literal example of how white people just love to exploit other peoples culture and make it their own for profit lol it’s kinda sad.
— Evelyn (@nzevelyn_) February 17, 2021
Similarly, Jennie Molena said that “Kendall Jenner starting a tequila brand, with zero knowledge on Mexican culture and calling it ‘818 tequila’ is gentrification.” She also mentioned that the smaller family-owned brands need the “hype & support.”
Kendall Jenner starting a tequila brand, with zero knowledge on Mexican culture and calling it “818 tequila” is GENTRIFICATION. The 818 does not claim Calabasas. What about those smaller, family owned Mexican tequila/mezcal brands? They deserve the hype & support.
— Jennie Molina (@jenjocelyn) February 17, 2021
Offering alternatives, daggervengeance provided a thread of Mexico-owned tequila companies that people could buy from, that aren’t owned by celebrities like Jenner, Dwayne Johnson, or Nick Jonas.
So here’s a thread of Mexican tequila brands you should support instead of Kendall Jenner’s, Nick Jonas or Dwayne Johnson’s. pic.twitter.com/lL4TexGTuY
— Dagger 🗡 (@daggervengeance) February 17, 2021
Of course, it can’t be completely clear what Jenner’s process was when coming up with Drink 818, nor the production of it. The brand’s Instagram page suggests it is hand-crafted in Jalisco, Mexico, though whether it’s directly helping Mexican culture and the Mexican people isn’t clear.
Evidently, Kendall will need to prove that she can make a positive contribution to Mexican culture — but whether Drink 818 can turn its detractors into fans remains to be seen.