It’s one of those instances that are almost too extreme to believe. Gucci, the Italian luxury powerhouse, has come under fire after it offered a disturbing polo neck jumper.
The clothing item, labeled the “balaclava”, is a black knit top that covers half of the the wearers face, with a mouth cutout that features big red lips.
It’s crazy to believe that every person within the company failed to realize how inherently racist the design was, or that it was being released to coincide with Black History Month.
Either way, as a careless mistake or a sick publicity stunt, the Gucci name was trending as disapproval flowed in excess on Twitter.
Predictably, after the backlash Gucci removed the offending garment and released a statement that claimed the experience would be transformed “into a powerful learning moment for the Gucci team.”
The statement also shared, “We consider diversity to be a fundamental value to be fully upheld, respected, and at the forefront of every decision we make. We are fully committed to increasing diversity throughout our organization.”
In a time where the airwaves have been full of controversy about Democrats sporting blackface, it just seems too oddly coincidental that Gucci would make such a misstep.
There may be no such thing as bad publicity, but it can still hurt the public’s ability to respect your brand.