Fashion retailer Forever 21 has apologized after their decision to use a white man to model a Black Panther inspired sweater led to backlash from fans.
— Frederick Joseph (@FredTJoseph) December 18, 2018
The company took to Twitter on Tuesday (18Dec18) to share a link to a jumper which featured the slogan “Wakanda Forever” – the salute used to greet residents of the fictional country in the Marvel movie released earlier this year.
However, many Internet users were left stunned when they clicked on the link to find that the knitwear was being modeled by a white man, rather than a person of color which the film famously celebrates.
“@Forever21 really got the palest person they could find to model a Wakanda Forever sweater. I’m crying,” one user wrote, while another added, “Wakanda bulls**t is this, @forever21?”
“Hey @Foever21, In what universe did you think it was ok to feature a white model in Wakanda gear? Granted, chances are you knew it wasn’t ok, but still,” a third tweeted, while someone else concurred: “They got a super pale, blonde, blue-eyed model in a Wakanda Forever sweater… I wanna speak to your advertising department, @Forever21. Someone approved this and thought this was going to work.”
After the backlash, Forever 21 deleted the offending tweet and removed the image of the white model in the sweater from their site. The jumper is still on sale, with a product shot used to promote it on the website.
They also apologized in a statement to TMZ, in which they said: “Forever 21 takes feedback on our products and marketing extremely seriously. We celebrate all superheroes with many different models of various ethnicities and apologize if the photo in question was offensive in any way.”
Black Panther, starring Chadwick Boseman as the superhero, was widely praised by critics and grossed $1.3 billion at the worldwide box office, making it the second-highest grossing movie of the year and a contender for Oscar consideration.
– Cover Media0