Retail giant David Jones has come under fire after apologising to a customer who had complained about the use of a “black model” in its latest summer beauty catalogue.
The angry customer had ranted to the retailer’s Facebook page after seeing the teenage model, Adut Akech, who came to Australia from South Sudan as a refugee and is considered a rising star of the Australian modelling scene.
The woman wrote: “Although I think your use of the beautiful black model is very attractive, I don’t feel it represents the general population of Australia.
“How on earth am I expected to relate to this cover?” I can’t wear ANY of her makeup, I don’t know ANYONE who looks like her … she could have been used on the back page.
“You people have really missed the mark here, and I’m pissed off and sick of big companys (sic) going for the minority feel good. Please think about your shoppers next time.”
But rather than ignore the rantings, David Jones apparently apologised to the customer saying it was “very sorry” she felt that way.
“We have passed your feedback on to our marketing department for their information and consideration,” someone from DJs marketing wrote.
However, few people are happy with the response labelling it “unacceptable”.
One customer posting to social media: “In response to the complaint you received regarding a model who happens to have black skin… I would like to ask you not to submit an apology to the complainant, as you have done nothing wrong.”
Another wrote: “Your whimpering reply was disgraceful.” And another posted: “It is totally unacceptable to apologise.”
In a statement sent to B&T, a spokesperson for David Jones said the retailer had, in fact, not apologised. The statement read:
“We have not, and will never, apologise for representing the diverse make up of the Australian community in our marketing materials or campaigns. This is at heart of our values as a company.
“The initial response to this Facebook post was a standard response, given by a customer service representative without enough thought as to how it could be misinterpreted, and we acknowledge this response was not appropriate in this context.
“We are proud of the cover and the talent used for our Spring Summer 2017 beauty catalogue and the variety of Australians represented on our catwalk. Our recent campaign is only the latest example of our commitment to genuine diversity, and it has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from our customers. We will continue to proudly celebrate diversity, which we know our customers and employees value.”