Lululemon apologized and parted ways with an art director who promoted the sale of ‘bat fried rice’ t-shirts that were called racist.
Trevor Fleming shared a link on his Instagram page to the website of California artist Jess Sluder, which sold “quarantines” featuring the image of a pair of chopsticks with bat wings on the front.
The long-sleeved t-shirt also showed a Chinese take-out box with bat wings on the back, along with the words âno thanksâ.
It annoyed critics who said the two were trying to spark anti-Asian sentiment during the coronavirus pandemic.
Lululemon’s official Trevor Fleming (right) has promoted the sale of a t-shirt on California artist Jess Sluder’s website as ‘bat fried rice’. It carries an image of a pair of chopsticks with bat wings on the front and a Chinese takeout box with bat wings on the back
âWe acted immediately and the person involved is no longer an employee of Lululemon,â the company said in an Instagram response to a client on Tuesday.
The post was shared on Sunday and the hashtag “Lululemon insults China” was viewed 204 million times on China’s Weibo platform Tuesday afternoon, with some commentators demanding a boycott of the brand.
The exercise clothing brand on Tuesday released statements apologizing and distancing itself from the design of the t-shirt that sparked outrage and accusations of racism online.
âAt lululemon, our culture and values ââare at the heart of who we are, and we take these kinds of things very seriously,â a spokesperson told DailyMail.com on Tuesday. âThe t-shirt design is not a lululemon product. We apologize that an employee has been affiliated with promoting an offensive t-shirt, and we take this very seriously.
âThe image and the message were inappropriate and inexcusable and we do not condone this behavior. We acted immediately and the person involved is no longer an employee of lululemon.
He called the image and message inappropriate and inexcusable, and apologized that one of his employees was affiliated with promoting the offensive t-shirt.
Fleming did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment. On his LinkedIn account, he said he worked at lululemon until April 2020.
Fleming said in a statement on his Instagram page: âI deeply apologize for putting the URL in my bio. I did not design the t-shirt and I did not participate in any part of its creation. . ‘
Jess Sluder apologized for being callous and said in a statement the design was “to create light during these dark times”
Fleming said: “I did not design the t-shirt and I was not involved in any part of its creation.”
Sluder did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Reuters.
Sluder apologized for being callous and said in a statement that the design was “to create light in these dark times.”
Reports of racially-motivated assaults on Asians have escalated since the pandemic first appeared in a market selling wildlife in China late last year, before spreading around the world. to infect 2.4 million people, with more than 169,000 deaths.
Early studies indicated that the virus could originate from bats.
Before it was deleted on Sunday, the post on Sluder’s Instagram account read, “Where did COVID-19 come from?” Nothing is certain, but we do know that a bat was involved.
He added, âAs of today, my limited edition #quarantees are now available. Link in bio or DM for more details … Thanks for your support and your sense of humor! #humornothat #batfriedrice. ‘
However, in the following days, Instagram users left over a thousand comments on luluemon’s official account, accusing him of xenophobia.
China is blocking Instagram in the country with what is called its Great Firewall.
A separate statement posted on lululemon’s official Weibo account on Tuesday did not apologize, but said the design was not a lululemon product and that the company opposes “any discriminatory behavior.”
It wasn’t the first time that lululemon had been criticized for his callousness. In 2013, Chip Wilson, the founder of the cult yoga fashion designer, apologized for comments suggesting that some women’s bodies “don’t work” in the brand’s pants.