Pastor, COGIC Elder Files Religious Discrimination Lawsuit Against M.A.C. Cosmetics for Denying him Certification After he Refused to Wear Makeup

Barry Jones (Photo: Barry Jones)
Barry Jones
(Photo: Barry Jones)

Dabbing concealer on his pimples was one thing.

But when the married minister and aspiring makeup artist learned he had to wear blush, lipstick and false eyelashes to get his certification, he stood his ground, said no, and went to court.

In an unusual religious discrimination lawsuit, Barry Jones — a married father, ordained minister and licensed esthetician — is suing M.A.C. Cosmetics in federal court in Detroit, claiming the retail giant demoted him in 2014 for refusing on religious grounds to wear makeup. Jones, who made $17.70 an hour as a M.A.C. makeup artist at the now-shuttered Northland Mall, 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.

M.A.C. officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

The company’s reasoning, Jones said, was that makeup artists should know how certain products feel if they are going to use them on others.

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, an ordained elder in the Church of God in Christ, says the Bible forbids men from looking like women — and wearing makeup would do just that. 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.”

Jones said he cited the passage for his trainers, but they wouldn’t hear him out.

“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.’ ”

The curly-haired student with hazel eyes went home and slept on it.

He didn’t change his mind, to the chagrin of his manager.

“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.’ ”

Jones, who lives in Detroit with his wife and daughter, chose not to.

“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.”

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SOURCE: The Detroit Free Press – Tresa Baldas

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