February 7, 2019 11:38 am
Updated: April 19, 2019 3:36 pm

Gucci apologizes after ‘blackface’ sweater causes backlash

WATCH: Gucci, Walmart and other brands pull items due to racial insensitivity. What other brands have made this mistake?

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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.

READ MORE: Virginia AG who called on governor to resign admits he wore blackface in college

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

READ MORE: Dalhousie professors ask university to confirm blackface violates code of conduct

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.

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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.

READ MORE: Virginia governor apologizes for 1984 yearbook photo showing blackface, KKK

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

arti.patel@globalnews.ca

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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