Harlem Woman Sues MAC After Getting Herpes From RiRi Woo Pop-Up Shop

Typically when you attend a concert a t-shirt is a perfect souvenir to bring home as a gift to yourself.  But unfortunately for Starkeema Greenidge, 28 of Harlem, NY, her gift is one that keeps on giving and is incurable.

On May 7th, Greenidge attended the Rihanna concert at Barclays in Brooklyn. She happened upon a MAC pop-up shop promoting Rihanna’s new RiRi Woo lipstick.  According to the lawsuit the employee instructed her to “press her lips together and spread the lipstick around”.

“(MAC) didn’t use a fresh or new lipstick tube, but rather one that had been used for other patrons,” the suit charges.

The suit also states MAC “should have known . . . it was unsanitary and exposing patrons to possible spread of disease.”

Just two days after attending the concert, Greenidge developed a cold sore on her lip that her doctor diagnosed as herpes. Requesting unspecified damages, Greenidge claims the herpes has caused her “mental anguish and emotional distress.”

According to the site, STD Testing, oral herpes, caused by HSV1, is the country’s most prevalent viral STDs.



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  • Marisa

    That’s a bad decisions on both this woman and Mac, the company for knowing full well you don’t use the sample tube directly on somebody’s lips, or the eye makeup either. I get my makeup mostly from Victoria’s Secret and they always use Q-Tips when trying on colors. Another thing is they also don’t let the sample sit around til its run out, they are suppose to refresh the samples. Also bad judgement from Starkeema because girl you don’t allow them to put any make up on you directly from the sample, its the same when trying on bathing suits you keep your under wear on or wear some sort of lining. Feel bad for her that she got herpes but, this will reinforce these stores to be sanitary and the customers to use vigilance when sampling products.

  • Me27

    @Eva– I’m definitely not blaming the victim nor am I defending the company. I just think there is always a level of personal responsibility; especially when you are a willing participant. Yes it’s easy to get caught up with big names, advertising, and getting caught up in the moment; but if something doesn’t seem right, people need to remember it’s ok to question it. If you didn’t see them sanitize it; ask them to do it again. Sure, you may come off as a diva, but at least you are taking the initiative and protecting yourself. In this case, if it were me, I would have asked that make-up artist sanitize the object. If she insisted that she already did, I would have asked her to do it again. Sure it comes across as pushy (and I have been accused of being bossy lol) but I think that this protects both me and the company. I protect myself from catching some infection and the company is protected from a lawsuit.

    • stellaxo

      But the company should have *some* responsibility as well!

      I was reading a small article somewhere, in which a MAC make up artist was explaining how they are not allowed to apply false eyelashes to their customers. Upon telling one of his clients about this regulation, she got angry and felt as though he simply didn’t want to do it.

      The thing is, in order to apply false eyelashes on a client, you must be certified to do so. Small (and numerous) counters like MAC simply cannot deal with the ramifications if something were to go wrong after an application. Certified beauty technicians who work in salons are allowed to do this work because they have more knowledge on how to care for the sensitive areas around the eyes. Furthermore, in the case of an infection, these technicians could lose their licenses and the salon could possibly face a fine.

      If regulations like this are already in place, why should we continually blame the customer? They are in the care of the company- simply because they are naive does not mean that it should be *okay* that they get a disease. At the very least, a disclaimer can be put up, don’t you think? If there are warning disclaimers on coffee cups, why not this?

      Its strange to me that there are so many harsh comments. Some of you are awful! I don’t know if its because of her name? Trying on make up is meant to be a fun experience; so she tried on a popular product, contracted herpes, and because she’s speaking out about it, she’s dumb? There are many others who have done what she’s done and don’t have to deal with her fate- perhaps this can serve as a cautionary tale.

  • Harlemkickz

    Seems to me that she is contract it from something else and is blaming the lipstick. I don’t believe that lipstick gave her that she is hungry for the money. She is a waitress.

  • BriA

    So does she just have a cold sore herpes or like herpes herpes? I think she’d have a hard case seeing as how no one else has come forward and I’m sure there were other people trying on the same lipsticks and getting a cold sore is fairly common – I mean how can she prove she got it from the lipstick in court? Really? I don’t understand…….

  • Bren

    MAC didn’t dip the lipstick in alcohol? If she has ever been to a MAC store, she would see that they never open new tubes for people to try on. They usually dip it in alcohol and wipe it off first. I feel bad for what happened to her but HSV 1 should not cause mental and emotional anguish. HSV 2 on the other hand….

    • jason

      I completely AGREE. It’s a cold sore, different than contracting Genital herpes (different virus strand). Kids get cold sores. I don’t see how having a cold sore gave her mental anguish and I especially don’t see how she couldn’t work because of a cold sore. People walk around with cold sores all the time. Whatever. She needs to prove that the lipstick gave it to her, the gestation period is not TWO days. Did she go to a restaurant, maybe a cup she drank from was where she contracted the virus?!?! Seriously, is she for real? I am curious if she has every been to a MAC store in her lifetime. I bet she owns MAC products so she knows the tester routine. Anyone else at the concert who tried it get herpes? I don’t buy her claim, sorry, it’s too far fetched.