Lush finally apologises to transgender community after brutal backlash over donations to anti-trans pressure group

People wearing protective face masks shop in Lush in Bournemouth in June2020

Lush has issued an apology for funding an anti-trans pressure group, days after the donations first emerged.

The ethical cosmetics chain has faced anger from the trans community after revelations over the weekend that Woman’s Place UK was awarded £3,000 from the group’s charity fund towards “events organisation”.

In an initial statement to PinkNews Lush did not make an apology for the donations, explaining it has a policy of not funding “campaigning work, discussion or lobbying on the specifics of the proposed changes to the Gender Recognition Act” and that the grant “predated our awareness of how toxic discussion around this issue had become and before we put rules in place around this subject”.

After a significant social media backlash over the donations, Lush has now issued an updated statement which says it is “sorry” that it funded campaigning against trans rights.

In the statement provided to PinkNews on Wednesday (2 December), it said: “To trans people and allies, we wish to say sorry for some past mistakes in our choices of donation recipients.”

The statement continues: “For those of you that have joined this conversation from different places and have been left wondering whether Lush has deliberately funded campaigning against trans rights, we want to assure you that this would never be our intention and we are sincerely sorry that any of our funding has gone towards doing this.

“The normal process for Charity Pot is that small grassroots groups and campaigns submit an application giving details about the project they wish to undertake and some background information.

“They are also required to give the name of two referees who can vouch for them. On top of reading the application and speaking to the referees, we also always check out the website and any group social media accounts. Where possible we also try to see what sort of content is on personal social media accounts of people attached to the group, where any names are known.

“There is never going to be a system that eliminates all mistakes, but we really take due diligence seriously. In the case of these two donations, we feel that money has gone to work that we would not feel proud to support and we wish to apologise unreservedly for that. We can assure you we are looking at all we do to try to strengthen our processes against further mistakes.”

Lush has now issued an updated statement which says it is "sorry" that it funded campaigning against trans rights

Lush has now issued an updated statement which says it is “sorry” that it funded campaigning against trans rights. (Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)

Lush added: “Over the last five years Charity Pot has given grants to 514 LGBTQ+ groups totalling £1.6 million. Our intention is to continue to fund the many wonderful trans groups that come to us needing help to stay safe and to fight for acceptance and we hope that this has not put you off applying.

“We never wish to let you down or to not be right there by your side during your struggles.”

Lush donation to anti-trans group condemned by its own North America arm.

The updated statement comes after the North American arm of Lush distanced itself from the UK operation.

Lush North America, which spans the US and Canadian operations, made clear: “At Lush, we believe trans rights are human rights, period.

“While we can’t speak to the funding choices of our UK partners, in North America we partnered with Trans Equality and Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity to raise $450,000 for trans-led organisations in 2018. Trans lives matter.”

The brand had added: “At Lush North America we do not have any say in the running of Lush UK, but we condemn transphobia and are committed to fighting for trans rights.”