Bethenny Frankel's Chanel Controversy Sparks Viral Debate on Brand Elitism and Tattooed Bronzers Trend

By Derrek Mun, a writer for the Cut who covers pop-culture news and entertainment. 

Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photos: Getty Images

The fashion world was recently shaken by a high-profile controversy involving former Real Housewives star Bethenny Frankel and the luxury brand Chanel. This incident, which has sparked significant discussion on platforms like Reddit and various news outlets, highlights broader issues of elitism and brand image management in the luxury retail industry.

The Incident

Bethenny Frankel, a successful entrepreneur and media personality, claimed she was denied entry to a Chanel store in Chicago because she was not dressed in a manner that the store deemed appropriate. According to Frankel, she was in a "sweaty T-shirt" and not looking particularly wealthy, which she believes was the reason for her exclusion. This incident quickly went viral after Frankel shared her experience on TikTok, where she has a substantial following.

Social Media Uproar

The incident gained even more traction on Reddit, particularly in the r/popculturechat subreddit, where users debated the implications of Chanel's actions. Many commenters sided with Frankel, calling out Chanel's behavior as "elitist" and "exclusionary." Some even compared the incident to broader societal issues of classism and discrimination based on appearance.

Brand Response and Marketing Lessons

Chanel's response to the controversy has been scrutinized by marketing and social experts. The general consensus is that luxury brands like Chanel must navigate a delicate balance between maintaining their exclusive image and being inclusive. The incident with Frankel serves as a case study for brands on how not to handle such situations. Experts suggest that brands need to be more empathetic and adaptable in their customer service approaches, particularly in a digital age where negative experiences can quickly become viral.

Tattooed Bronzers: A New Trend?

Interestingly, while Frankel's incident with Chanel was unfolding, another unrelated trend was making waves on social media: the rise of "tattooed bronzers." This innovative beauty product combines bronzer with temporary tattoo designs, allowing users to apply intricate patterns to their skin while achieving a sun-kissed glow. Reddit has been buzzing with discussions about the best tattooed bronzers, with users sharing tips and recommendations.

Yeet Magazine Insider's Take

Yeet Magazine’s insider reported on the incident, emphasizing Frankel's savvy use of social media to turn a negative experience into a platform for discussion and engagement. By continuously posting about the incident, Frankel has not only kept the conversation alive but also boosted her own visibility on platforms like TikTok. This strategic use of social media highlights the power of personal branding and the influence of digital platforms in shaping public perception.


The Bethenny Frankel-Chanel controversy underscores the ongoing challenges that luxury brands face in maintaining their exclusivity while being perceived as inclusive and customer-friendly. It also demonstrates the significant impact that social media and digital platforms have in shaping public discourse and brand reputation. As trends like tattooed bronzers continue to capture public interest, the importance of staying attuned to consumer preferences and behaviors becomes even more critical for brands aiming to navigate the complex landscape of modern marketing.


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