celebrity

In 2019, Forbes declared Kylie Jenner the world's youngest billionaire. Now, they've claimed she lied.

In March 2019, Kylie Jenner – the youngest Kardashian-Jenner sister – earned the title of the world’s youngest ‘self-made’ billionaire.

The 22-year-old, who was also named the world’s youngest billionaire (surpassing Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg), made it on the annual Forbes list after founding her booming cosmetics company, Kylie Cosmetics, in 2015.

The company, which debuted initially with wildly popular lip kits containing matching lipstick and lip liner, went from earning US$3.7 million in 2016 to US$360 million in 2018.

Listen to Mamamia’s daily entertainment podcast, The Spill, where hosts Laura Brodnik and Kee Reece discuss Kylie Jenner’s billionaire status. Post continues below. Post continues below.

The half-sister of reality TV stars Kim, Khloe, and Kourtney Kardashian also earned money from endorsements, modelling and appearances on reality show Keeping Up With The Kardashians.

Amid the release of Jenner’s billionaire status, many people took issue with the 22-year-old – who was born into status and privilege – being deemed as “self-made”.

But now, one year later, Forbes have accused Jenner of spinning a “web of lies” to “inflate the size and success of her business”, claiming that Jenner isn’t a billionaire after all.

In an article published on Friday, the magazine estimated Jenner’s actual net worth at just under $900 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 reported.

The findings come after Jenner sold 51 per cent of Kylie Cosmetics to global beauty company Coty for $600 million in November 2019, valuing the business at $1.2 billion – “clear proof” of Jenner’s billionaire status.

At the time, a Coty presentation on Kylie Cosmetics revealed that the business’ revenue in the 12 months preceding the deal was $177 million, with sales up 40 per cent from 2018.

As Forbes reported, however, the revenue shared in the presentation meant that Kylie Cosmetics had generated roughly $125 million in 2018 – significantly less than the $360 million revenue which Jenner originally reported to Forbes for 2018.

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Based on these revenue filings – and the economic impact of COVID-19 – the Forbes investigation claimed that Jenner is unlikely to be a billionaire.

The publication also accused Jenner of having her accountant draft tax returns with false numbers to help boost her net worth.

“Of course, white lies, omissions and outright fabrications are to be expected from the family that perfected – then monetised – the concept of ‘famous for being famous,'” Forbes reported.

“But, similar to Donald Trump’s decades-long obsession with his net worth, the unusual lengths to which the Jenners have been willing to go … reveals just how desperate some of the ultra-rich are to look even richer.”

Posting to Twitter on Friday, Jenner responded to the Forbes report.

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“What am I even waking up to. I thought this was a reputable site,” she wrote.

“All I see are a number of inaccurate statements and unproven assumptions. I’ve never asked for any title or tried to lie my way there EVER. Period,” she continued.

“‘Even creating tax returns that were likely forged’. That’s your proof? So you just THOUGHT they were forged? Like actually what am I reading?”

She later added: “I am blessed beyond my years, I have a beautiful daughter, and a successful business and I’m doing perfectly fine. I can name a list of 100 things more important right now than fixating on how much money I have.”

In an emailed statement, Jenner’s lawyer, Michael Jump, demanded a retraction from Forbes.

“We have reviewed Forbes’ article accusing Kylie of engaging in deceit and a ‘web of lies’ to inflate her net worth,” the statement read.

“The article is filled with outright lies. Forbes’ accusation that Kylie and her accountants ‘forged tax returns’ is unequivocally false and we are demanding Forbes immediately and publicly retract that and other statements.”

In response, Forbes spokesperson Matthew Hutchison defended the report, sharing that the publication’s “extensively-reported investigation was triggered by newly-filed documents that revealed glaring discrepancies between information privately supplied to journalists and information publicly supplied to shareholders.”

“Our reporters spotted the inaccuracies and spend months uncovering the facts,” the statement continued.

“We encourage her attorney to re-read the article.”

Feature Image: Getty.


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