Online Retailer SHEIN Apologizes, Removes Swastika Necklace From Sale Following Outrage
Online fashion brand SHEIN issued an apology on Friday “to everyone we’ve offended” for selling a swastika necklace that has since removed from its website.
StopAntiSemitism.org drew attention on Thursday to the gold accessory that was labeled “swastika pendant necklace” on SHEIN’s website, and demanded the item be immediately removed.
We demand that #shein IMMEDIATELY remove this item from their website as it represents the mass murder of millions.
Related coverageNovember 27, 2020 12:35 pm
— StopAntisemitism.org (@StopAntisemites) July 9, 2020
Liora Rez — director of StopAntisemitism.org — told The Algemeiner, “Shein’s main customer base is in the United States and Britain, home to millions of Jews. It’s outlandish and inexcusable that no one on their team, from sourcing to production to digital, stopped for a moment and questioned whether a swastika necklace would be appropriate to sell.“
Photos of the necklace — which was being sold for $2.50 — went viral across various social media platforms, and many called the accessory “disgusting” and “offensive.” Some vowed to boycott SHEIN, and a number of Instagram influencers said they would stop promoting the brand on their pages.
A Change.org petition calling to “ban shopping” at the retailer had more than 8,500 signatures by Friday morning.
One longtime customer of the brand tweeted, “I probably am (was) the most loyal @SHEIN_official customer around, but now I’ll be taking my business to @zaful_official or really any other company that doesn’t have such repulsive disregard for what that swastika represents to the millions of people killed by those who wore it.”
At 4 p.m. on Thursday, the item remained on SHEIN’s website but “swastika” had been removed from its label. Instead it was described as a “metal pendant necklace,” according to screenshots provided by StopAntiSemitism.org.
The item stayed on the SHEIN website for over three more hours until it was finally delisted.
A SHEIN representative told The Jewish Journal she could not confirm StopAntiSemitism.org’s allegation about the necklace’s relabeling before it was removed from sale.
SHEIN apologized on Instagram for selling the necklace, saying in part, “We made a gigantic mistake by selling a product that’s hurtful and offensive to many of you, and we’re so, so sorry…There’s simply no excuse for our lack of sensitivity in doing so.”
The brand claimed “the item was removed as soon as we discovered this mistake.”
SHEIN tried to explain how the swastika was a holy symbol in Buddhism, but added, “frankly, that doesn’t matter because we should’ve been more considerate of the symbol’s hurtful connotations to so many people around the world, and we didn’t.”
The global retailer also noted that it was “making major internal changes so this does not happen again,” and a committee was being established to review products before they were sold on the website.
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This is not the first antisemitic item the popular brand has sold. Last summer, SHEIN sold a T-shirt inspired by the Nazi Eagle, a symbol developed originally by the Nazi Party in Germany in the 1920s.
Just last week, it apologized for selling decorative rugs that resembled prayer mats Muslims use after being called out by Muslim activists. The rugs had illustrations of Kaaba, a religious symbol with historical significance, and mihrab, a common design on Muslim prayer rugs that is modeled after a niche in the wall of a mosque that points to Mecca.