Makeup company Estée Lauder said Monday that it forced out senior executive John Demsey, following public outrage due to his recent racist and offensive Instagram post.

On Feb. 21, Demsey posted to his personal Instagram account a meme-type “Sesame Street” design on a book cover. "My n***a Snuffy done got the 'rona at a Chingy concert," the book title read. The post appeared to be mocking COVID-19. On Thursday, Estée Lauder said Demsey had been placed on unpaid leave.

“This decision is the result of his recent Instagram posts, which do not reflect the values of The Estée Lauder Companies, have caused widespread offense, are damaging to our efforts to drive inclusivity both inside and outside our walls, and do not reflect the judgment we expect of our leaders,” Estée Lauder executives wrote in a company letter.

“Inclusion, diversity and equity are core to our company’s values and priorities globally,” the letter added.

The letter explained that Demsey must “leave the company, effective this week” and highlighted that all other employees are expected to “respect the values of this company for the long term.”

Shortly after people started to call out the distaste of Demsey’s post, he deleted it off his page and replaced it with an apology post.

On Friday, he posted: “Not only did I hurt many people whom I respect, the terrible mistake that I made has undermined everything I have been working for since I began my career 31 years ago. The meme is the furthest thing from what I stand for and I should have never posted it."

“I am so sorry that I let down the Company that I have dedicated my life's work to as well as its employees, artists, friends, and colleagues. I hope that in time people will judge me, not for this awful mistake, but for my lifetime of words and actions, which demonstrate my respect for all people," he said.

Demsey, 65, has long been considered a prominent figure in the beauty industry. Estée Lauder promoted Demsey to group president in 2006. He had been with the company for over 30 years and was in charge of top brands MAC and Clinique.