pants on fire?
May 29, 2020

You know what's less cool than a billion dollars? "Inflating" the success of your business for years, as Forbes claims Kylie Jenner has done.

Forbes declared Jenner the youngest self-made billionaire ever last year, but it's now offering an update: actually, now she's not a billionaire at all, self-made or otherwise. The outlet on Friday concluded that Jenner's business is, it turns out, "significantly smaller, and less profitable, than the family has spent years leading the cosmetics industry and media outlets, including Forbes, to believe."

The report describes how Jenner publicists showed Forbes tax returns demonstrating the unbelievable growth of her company, Kylie Cosmetics, and showing $307 million in revenue in 2016. The documents were apparently a little too unbelievable, in fact; the outlet describes the numbers the Jenners provided as "hard to believe" and writes that filings later showed there's "virtually no way" they were accurate.

"If Kylie Cosmetics did $125 million in sales in 2018, how could it have done $307 million in 2016 (as the company's supposed tax returns state) or $330 million in 2017?" Forbes asks.

The answer? While the authors say they can't "prove" it, they suspect the documents they were provided with were fake and suggest her "business was never that big to begin with, and the Jenners have lied about it every year since 2016 — including having their accountant draft tax returns with false numbers — to help juice Forbes' estimates of Kylie's earnings and net worth."

Plus, Forbes also believes Jenner's profits are lower than previously thought, and given these revelations, in addition to bringing the effects of the coronavirus pandemic into account, it now estimates she's not a billionaire and is worth "just under $900 million" — which, you know, still isn't too shabby.

Read the full report, which we can only hope someone is optioning the rights to for an All the President's Men style investigative journalism thriller, at Forbes. Brendan Morrow

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