Gucci Apologizes for Sweater That Appears to Resemble Blackface
Italian luxury brand is latest to be snagged by controversy — says it's now 'fully committed' to 'turning this incident into a powerful learning moment'
Gucci has apologized for any offense caused by a turtleneck-style sweater after it received complaints the item resembled blackface.
“We consider diversity to be a fundamental value to be fully upheld, respected, and at the forefront of every decision we make,” the Italian fashion house said in a tweeted statement on Wednesday night.
“We are fully committed to increasing diversity throughout our organization and turning this incident into a powerful learning moment for the Gucci team and beyond,” the statement continued.
Gucci confirmed that it immediately removed the $890 black wool sweater from its online and physical stores.
Gucci deeply apologizes for the offense caused by the wool balaclava jumper.
We consider diversity to be a fundamental value to be fully upheld, respected, and at the forefront of every decision we make.
Full statement below. pic.twitter.com/P2iXL9uOhs
— gucci (@gucci) February 7, 2019
The neck portion of the sweater, which has a mouth opening surrounded by a band of red, is shown pulled up over the lower half of the Caucasian model’s face.
Many people on Twitter were not amenable to Gucci’s apology for the perceived offense.
February racism sweepstakes heat up with an entry from Gucci, venturing into blackface you have to pay $1000 for.https://t.co/IeuKxObDw6
— Heidi N. Moore (@moorehn) February 7, 2019
Come to be offended by the racism, stay to be offended by the price. https://t.co/2977rbompy
— Molly Jong-Fast (@MollyJongFast) February 7, 2019
So @gucci puts out a sweater that looks like blackface……
On Black History Month….
And then issues an apology because they didn't know that blackface images are racist.
— Tariq Nasheed (@tariqnasheed) February 7, 2019
If you hire more Black people and cultivate an environment where people on all levels of the company feel comfortable to speak up incidents like this will be avoided.
— The GLOWBOSS (@VanessaVeasley) February 7, 2019
Two of Virginia’s top three Democrats, meanwhile, are right now embroiled in controversy involving the admitted use of blackface decades ago.
Gov. Ralph Northam, who admitted to wearing blackface in his youth while dressing as Michael Jackson for a costume contest, is resisting heavy pressure from his party to step down.
Attorney General Mark Herring, who also admitted dressing as a black rapper when he was 19, now has received similar pressure.
Herring said in statement this week that he has a “glaring example from my past that I have thought about with deep regret in the many years since, and certainly each time I took a step forward in public service, realizing that my goals and this memory could someday collide and cause pain for people I care about.”
When Herring was a college student, some of his friends “suggested we attend a party dressed like rappers we listened to at the time, like Kurtis Blow, and perform a song.”
“It sounds ridiculous even now writing it. But because of our ignorance and glib attitudes — and because we did not have an appreciation for the experiences and perspectives of others — we dressed up and put on wigs and brown makeup,” Herring added. “This was a one-time occurrence and I accept full responsibility for my conduct.”
Herring also apologized for contributing “to the pain Virginians have felt this week,” calling it “the greatest shame I have ever felt.”
Herring is third in line to assume the governorship, should both Northam and the lieutenant governor step down.
Dr. Vanessa Tyson has accused Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of sexually assaulting her in a hotel room in 2004. He maintains he had a relationship with the woman but that it was consensual. Both individuals have hired attorneys.
Michele Blood is a Flemington, New Jersey-based freelance writer and regular contributor to LifeZette.