Facing backlash over its women’s woolen jumper called “blackface,” fashion brand Gucci has removed it from sale and issued formal apologies, but not all netizens were offended by the clothing item.
The black jumper covered the lower part of the face and featured a red cut-out around the mouth. Gucci withdrew it after shoppers claimed the concept was racist. In a subsequent statement, the company apologized for any offense caused.
The black balaclava knitwear from the Fall Winter 2018 season was immediately removed from shelves, Gucci said, adding that the incident was “a powerful learning moment.” Searches on the brand’s website showed that the item was not listed as of February 7.
Gucci deeply apologizes for the offense caused by the wool balaclava jumper.
We consider diversity to be a fundamental value to be fully upheld, respected, and at the forefront of every decision we make.
Full statement below. pic.twitter.com/P2iXL9uOhs
— gucci (@gucci) February 7, 2019
However, Twitter users rushed to bombard Gucci with accusations of racism, uploading screengrabs of the controversial product.
“Please stop supporting these racist brands who don’t give a bleep about our people, or the dollars we spend,” one angry netizen wrote.
Another suggested that “if you hire more black people and cultivate an environment where people on all levels of the company feel comfortable to speak up incidents like this will be avoided.”
If you hire more Black people and cultivate an environment where people on all levels of the company feel comfortable to speak up incidents like this will be avoided.
— The GLOWBOSS (@VanessaVeasley) February 7, 2019
Others, however, found little sense in the blackface row.
Why is everything that covers your face black now have to be associated with blackface racism from pre civil rights America? If I want to wear my ski mask for the cold nowadays, I have to worry about being labeled as racist and offensive. What’s next? Can’t paint face black…
— TopHam 🎩🎷 (@MarioBe73375265) February 7, 2019
shid i see more or a ski mask than blackface. 😭😭 Gucci issues apology following backlash over sweater that appears to resemble blackface https://t.co/LpxbKJHak5
— YNW$HAM (@_shamLS) February 7, 2019
Fashion brands are no strangers to controversy these days.
Last year, Dolce & Gabbana had their products removed from Chinese retail websites after its ad campaign was deemed racist, and a post purportedly from the company’s founder claimed that “ignorant, dirty” Chinese people eat dogs.
Accusations of racial stereotyping followed D&G’s publication of three advertising videos showing an Asian woman attempting to use chopsticks to eat big portions of Italian food, including pizza, spaghetti, and a cannoli.
The videos were posted on the fashion house’s official Instagram account and evoked immediate outrage on Chinese social media, with users launching the #BoycottDolcegabbana hashtag.
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