It's been a little over a year since Kylie Jenner reportedly reached the billionaire's club with her makeup brand, Kylie Cosmetics — earning her the title of the youngest self-made billionaire by Forbes. A few months later, she'd add to her staggering financial climb with a USD $600 million beauty deal with Coty Inc. "The goal is to keep building Kylie's existing beauty business into a global powerhouse brand," her mother and manager, Kris Jenner, told CNBC last November. But today, Forbes is stripping the billionaire title from the beauty mogul and claiming that she and her family falsified their earnings to the publication.
In a scathing article this morning, Forbes alleges that the documents provided to them — including reported tax filings — had discrepancies that didn't align with the public records released by Coty. One of the alleged inconsistencies was that the Jenner camp reportedly told Forbes that Kylie Cosmetics had reached USD $360 million in sales for the 2018 year. The publication claims this doesn't add up when compared to a November 2019 Coty presentation, which reported a 40% increase in revenue for a total of USD $177 million (which would put 2018 earnings at about USD $125 million).
"Kylie's business is significantly smaller and less profitable than the family has spent years leading the cosmetics industry and media outlets, including Forbes, to believe," the publication claimed.
Jenner disputed the allegations in a series of tweets this morning. "What am I even waking up to," she wrote. "I thought this was a reputable site... all I see are a number of inaccurate statements and unproven assumptions," she wrote in one tweet. "I've never asked for any title or tried to lie my way there EVER. period."
what am i even waking up to. i thought this was a reputable site.. all i see are a number of inaccurate statements and unproven assumptions lol. i’ve never asked for any title or tried to lie my way there EVER. period— Kylie Jenner (@KylieJenner) May 29, 2020
Forbes is now calculating Jenner's net worth to be somewhere around USD $900 million, putting her just under the billionaire benchmark. "Forbes has recalculated Kylie's net worth and concluded that she is not a billionaire," claimed the publication. The updated number also accounts for the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has impacted Coty's global revenue.
Both Forbes and the Jenners are facing scrutiny on social media following the published allegations. "Forbes is losing credibility when it comes to reporting on wealth," tweeted one user. Others are revisiting the controversial "self-made" title the magazine has now used to describe Jenner three years in a row. "I'm just laughing at the fact that Forbes called Kylie a 'self-made billionaire,' and when we consider the literal meaning of self-made, then most billionaires are not," wrote another user.
When speaking to Refinery29 in 2018, Kim Kardashian West defended her younger sister saying, "She is 'self-made' — we are all 'self-made. What, because we came from a family that has had success? To me, that doesn't really make sense."
As for the youngest Jenner, she seems to be taking the news and subsequent backlash in stride. "I am blessed beyond my years, I have a beautiful daughter, and a successful business and I’m doing perfectly fine," she wrote. "I can name a list of 100 things more important right now than fixating on how much money I have."
Refinery29 has reached out to representations of Kylie Jenner and Coty Inc. for comment, and we will update this post if we hear back.