Global activewear brand Lululmeon has been forced to apologise after a now ex-employee posted an image of a “racist” t-shirt on his Instagram page.
The t-shirt, which was designed by American artist Jess Sluder, features a picture of a box of fried rice with bat wings and the words “no thank you” written inside the box and on the sleeves.
Ex-employee Trevor Fleming posted a link to his Instagram page promoting the shirt, with social media users quick to call out the piece of clothing for being racist and xenophobic.
Sluder, who designed the shirt, wrote in a now-deleted Instagram post: “Where did COVID-19 come from? Nothing is certain, but we know a bat was involved,” along with #batfriedrice and #humornothate.
Fleming, who was previously employed as an art director at Lululemon, reposted the image. Fans were quick to notice the blunder, taking to the brand’s Instagram page to air their disappointment.
“Lululemon, usually I am one of your biggest customers,” one person wrote. “Today, however, I am disappointed by your lack of transparency. Not only did your employee blatantly display xenophobia and racism, but he also exploited COVID19 just to make a few bucks.”
“Will not be purchasing or wearing anything from this brand unless proper action is taken and racism is addressed,” said another.
Fleming apologised for advertising the shirt and said he did “not participate in any part of its creation”.
Lululemon was quick to respond. The brand said it “acted immediately, and the person involved is no longer an employee.”
“We want to apologize that an employee was affiliated with promoting an offensive t-shirt,” the brand replied to another comment.
“We hold our values at our core and find the image and post inexcusable.”
Lululemon also made it clear the shirt was not one of its products.
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