Canadian sportswear brand Lululemon, known for their expensive yoga wear and big following in China, has issued an apology after its former global art director promoted a racist shirt on his social media page.
The “Bat Fried Rice” T-shirt features a Chinese takeaway box with bat wings on the back and a pair of chopsticks (also with bat wings) in front, with the words “No Thank You” on the takeaway box design and on the shirt’s sleeve.
People online were outraged after a link to the product was shared by former Lululemon global art director, Trevor Fleming in his Instagram’s bio.
The T-shirt was originally listed for sale on a website by designer Jesse Sluder–who has no connection to Lululemon. Jesse made the t-shirt as part of his limited edition #quarantees and posted it on his Instagram with the caption:
“Where did COVID-19 come from? Nothing is certain, but we know a bat was involved. Beginning today, my limited edition guarantees are now available. Link in bio or DM for details… Thank you for your support and humor!”
Before setting his account to private, Jesse made some apologies and an explanation that he didn’t realise it was racist.
“The racial aspect of this honestly had not occurred to me, which is clearly something I need to explore further,” and continued saying that he’s “been alone too long” because of the coronavirus quarantine.
@richvuu28 Thank you for your feedback. At lululemon, our values are core to who we are, and we take matters like this extremely seriously. The employee involved is no longer with the company.
— lululemon (@lululemon) April 21, 2020
Lululemon issued an apology on Weibo and said that the company “takes matters like this very seriously.”
“The T-shirt is not a Lululemon product. We apologise that an employee was affiliated with promoting an offensive T-shirt and we take this very seriously,” the company said.
“The image and the post were inappropriate and inexcusable. We acted immediately, and the person involved is no longer an employee of Lululemon,” revealing of the termination of Fleming’s employment.
Speaking to South China Morning Post, Fleming also apologised and regretted over what has happened since the design was posted online. He said that even though he was no way involved in the design of the T-shirt, he did make the decision to share a link to it.
It should also be noted that the company founder Chip Wilson, previously explained that the only reason he chose the name Lululemon was because it’s “funny” to hear native Japanese speakers say the name.
Well, sorry to say but that’s not it, chief.
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