Gucci apologizes after ‘blackface’ sweater causes backlash

Design house Gucci is formally apologizing after a sweater they created representing blackface caused a fury on social media.

The Italian brand posted an apology on Twitter on Wednesday, adding they would remove the sweater off their website and from its retail stores.

“Gucci deeply apologizes for the offense caused by the wool balaclava jumper,” the brand wrote. “We consider diversity to be a fundamental value to be fully upheld, respected, and at the forefront of every decision we make.”

“We are fully committed to increased diversity throughout our organization and turning this incident into a powerful learning moment for the Gucci team and beyond.”

The all-black wool sweater, which retailed for $1,180, featured a balaclava face cover with a cutout of big, red lips.

On social media, black users pointed out the brand’s “racist ornament,” and even alluded to the fact it was Black History Month.

Even after an apology, some people were not impressed. “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,” one user said.

One user pointed out another racist key chain by Prada with a similar look.

That particular key chain was removed from Prada’s collection in December, AP reported.

A handful of high-end brands have faced similar backlash for some of their products. Last year, Dolce & Gabbana cancelled a Shanghai runway show after its promotional videos were called out for being racist.

The promos featured a Chinese model trying to eat pizza, spaghetti and a cannoli with chopsticks.

In 2011, British designer John Galliano was removed as creative director at Dior after going on an anti-Semitic and racist rants at a bar. Galliano said he was under the influence of alcohol and drugs during his rant.

More accessible retailers have also come under fire. In 2014, Zara recalled a children’s shirt that resembled Nazi concentration camp uniforms, featuring stripes and bright yellow stars.

In 2018, H&M removed an ad campaign featuring a black boy wearing a hoodie that said, “coolest monkey in the jungle.” The brand later apologized, and took down the campaign.

— with files from The Associated Press

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