If it feels like just yesterday the clothing company Shein was apologizing for selling a very poorly conceived product then that feeling is correct. On Monday, the company issued an apology after selling what it referred to as a “fringe trim Greek fret carpet,” which was actually a Muslim prayer rug. The rugs, advertised as decorative carpets, included images of the Kaaba, a holy site in the Muslim faith. As part of their apology, Shein stated that they would employ a “product review committee” to prevent something like this from happening again.
Surprise, it happened again! (Still waiting on that “committee.”)
Now Shein is on the hook for selling, uh, a swastika necklace. The necklace has been removed from Shein’s site and in a statement to Refinery29 a representative recycled their previous statement from the Muslim prayer rug debacle, but this time with a splash of history.
“SHEIN was not selling a Nazi swastika pendant,” the representative told Refinery. “The necklace is a Buddhist swastika which has symbolized spirituality and good fortune for more than a thousand years.” The statement goes on to point out the differences in swastikas, such as the Nazi swastika is “pointed clockwise and tilted at an angle.” Yet the company eventually caved and has removed the offending necklace from their website, “because we understand the two symbols can be confused and one is highly offensive.”
There is ignorance and then there is blatant stupidity: the decision to sell a swastika pendant and then defend that decision with a history lesson on swastikas falls in the latter category.
“As a multicultural and global brand, we want to apologize profusely to those who are offended, we are sensitive to these issues and want to be very clear that we in no way support or condone racial, cultural and religious prejudice or hostility,” the representative added before telling Refinery that the company is taking “extreme measures to ensure that all items are cleared through a rigorous vetting process before we retail them.”
I never thought I’d be able to say this as a person of color but I would like to speak to Shein’s manager immediately.