Facts, opinions, and the real story behind Mary Kay Cosmetics.

Mary Kay Suing Former Employee Over Tell-All Book

Mary Kay Inc. is nothing if not petty and controlling. And they’re awfully litigious. Remember all the lawsuits against women who were trying to sell the thousands of dollars of products they purchased from MK? It didn’t matter to MK that the company got paid in full for those products. The consultants and former consultants weren’t selling them in the way Mary Kay wanted them to. Lawsuit!

Now Mary Kay Cosmetics is planning to file a federal lawsuit tomorrow against Jennifer Bickel Cook, a woman who worked for Mary Kay Ash for 25 years and has written a book about her experience. The book, Pass It On, was published on October 5, and sold out immediately. The book is described:

In 1963, Mary Kay Ash opened a door of opportunity for millions of women when she founded her own company, Mary Kay Inc. Through her business model and actions as founder, Ash empowered women who wanted to take control of their own careers, while still being able to keep their faith and families at the top of their priority lists. In this passionate memoir, Mary Kay Museum director emeritus Jennifer Bickel Cook celebrates the international legacy of her friend, mentor, and boss-a woman whose incredible journey in faith shaped her own. With color and vivacity, Pass It On: What I Learned from Mary Kay Ash shares Ash’s productivity habits, eccentricities, and Christian faith. From struggling single mother to founder of a successful Dallas-based company, discover how Ash lived out her personal ideology through the varied stages of her career in this in-depth close-up of the woman behind the makeup.

I’m no fan of Mary Kay Ash, a predatory woman who created a scam that looked like it empowered women, but is actually responsible for swindling millions of women out of billions of dollars. But it sounds like this book is a flattering memoir of Ms. Cook’s time working next to Mary Kay. And all of the profits from the book are to go to the Mary Kay Foundation.

But Mary Kay Inc. says that Ms. Cook is violating a non-disclosure agreement. She worked for Mary Kay for 45 years. 25 years was spent as the manager of Mary Kay Ash’s personal staff; then in 1996 she became the director of the Mary Kay Museum and director of the Mary Kay Foundation.

When Mary Kay Inc. found out about the book in September, they had their lawyers send a nasty letter saying Ms. Cooks had “ongoing legal obligations to Mary Kay” (i.e. the non-disclosure agreement) and demanding that they be provided a copy of the book the next day and also demanding that the publisher delay the publication of it. MK wanted “to determine if it contains any of Mary Kay’s confidential and proprietary information.” The lawyers also said that Ms. Cook had asked MK consultants to promote the book to other consultants, which might be a “violation of the terms and conditions of their agreements with Mary Kay and jeopardize their businesses.” Really, Mary Kay?????

The lawyers say they’re suing Ms. Cook on Friday. Because, of course. From the article:

Mary Kay spokeswoman Kelly Medley said the company isn’t concerned about whether the book is a positive take on the company’s founder. Instead, “the question is whether or not Ms. Cook violated federal copyright law and her obligations to Mary Kay Inc. in the process of writing and promoting this book, largely to Mary Kay’s independent beauty consultants.”

Not a good look, Mary Kay Inc. Leave this woman alone.


  1. Brainwashednomore

    Wow! So mk is getting FREE GOOD publicity and a donation to their charitable foundation but they want to sue the woman? (Side note: what is mk foundation really doing? Are they helping oodles?) Such a low, even for mk. The author wants to show how wonderful mk was as a person. If she was so wonderful, why is her company going after FRIENDS? I guess they love taking people to court so they forgot why they take people to court. I wonder what Jennifer thinks of the company now. Does it affect her good feelings towards mk and in what way? Or, is she in the pink fog justifying this action against her?

    1. TRACY

      But MK empowers women!!!

      Click the link in the middle of the article and you can see what Jennifer thinks of them, assuming that her publisher is speaking accurately on her behalf.

        1. TRACY

          I think this whole “we want to know if she’s disclosing trade secrets” is b.s. They just want to control the narrative, but more importantly, get all the money from all the things.

  2. BestDecision

    She was Mary Kay’s secretary! How tacky and desperate this makes MK Inc look going after a retiree sharing positive, wholesome values. Anything to control their facade and suck up all the money!

  3. Cindylu

    This gives new meaning to the following quotes: “No good deed goes unpunished’ life is unfair and people can do or try to do good things and still end up in a lot of trouble. Also “The road to hell is paved with good intentions”. MK just showed just how much greed has been accrued within this very flawed mlm. Greedy people look at the world as a zero-sum game. Instead of thinking that everyone would benefit as the pie gets larger, they view the pie as a constant and want to have the biggest part. They truly believe that they deserve more, even if it comes at someone else’s expense. Greedy people are experts in manipulation.

  4. Juliet

    1) If legal action is taken against Ms. Cook, then yes, IT WILL CLEARLY SHOW WHAT KIND OF PERSON MARY KAY ASH WAS lololol. Personal feelings and loyalty? NOPE! Unfettered greed cloaked in absolute cow manure? YES YES YES, we specialize in putrid thought and action.

    2) Ms. Cook writes a pink-fog-soaked fairy tale about a woman who never truly existed except in public relations items and she is now cast as an evil-doing traitor to the sanctified MARY KAY PERSONA! Actually kind of happy this happened cause Ms. Cook is as dangerous as the most fervent hunbot recruiting without an ounce of morality or concern for her impact on her victims lives.

    So I am surprisingly Team MKCorpse lololol, GOOOOO MKCORPSE! Every move you make is hopefully leading to taking you all down.

  5. NayMKWay

    A quote from Milli Brown (publisher): “She [Cook] was so excited about the book, and I hate that they’re raining on her parade. You know Mary Kay is turning over in her grave.”

    Do I? From what I’ve heard of Mary Kay Ash, I’m not so sure about that.

  6. Mary kay sux

    That’s messed up mary kay Inc. You are getting mad at the only person who could turn things around and potentially save your company to not look like an mlm but actually look like a beautiful family & friends based business but you want to gang up on your only friend by suing her? In doing so you will lose your company because that will show even the mary kay lovers your true colors! That is no way to run a so-called “family based business”! Good luck with that!

  7. Margie Silva

    But at the same time…Ms. Cook had to have known what what would happen if she went through with the publishing of of the book. After so many years, she had to have known how if worked at the top.

  8. jp0945

    The lawsuit was in fact filed on Friday in the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division. Tracy, I assume you already have a copy of the lawsuit and comparison exhibit, but feel free to email me if you don’t have it yet.

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