Gucci CEO Marco Bizzarri has admitted the company made a “big mistake” with the “blackface” scandal in a leaked internal memo.
The label hit headlines earlier this year (19) upon the release of their black knitted “balaclava jumper” which covered the lower half of the face and featured a cutout around the mouth surrounded by a red lips design – a design which many pointed out resembles “blackface”.
Gucci apologized in a statement and withdrew the item from sale, but many stars have slammed the brand for even creating the jumper in the first place.
While Gucci has yet to publicly address the scandal, website Fashionista has obtained an email CEO Bizzarri sent to his staff, in which he acknowledged the severity of their error.
“We made a mistake. A big one. Because of cultural ignorance, but ignorance is not an excuse,” he wrote. “And we accept responsibility for this mistake. Yet there is no way of thinking nor believing that this could have ever been intentional.
“The way we have been portrayed as a company is not reflecting who we are and what we stand for. The current perception is putting at risk all the values we believe in and have been working on from the beginning of our journey. Self-expression, diversity, community building and inclusivity are in the DNA of the brand reflected in the many initiatives we have launched in the last several years…”
After listing a few examples of these initiatives, Bizzarri continued to explain how he is planning to move on from the scandal, and his hopes of implementing a new set of standards, as well as a global cultural awareness program and a scholarship program, “that will allow diversity to bloom everywhere”.
“We thought we were standing in a better position, and we need to recognize that we are not,” he continued. “We have to move even quicker. We are a learning organization, and I am now working on a set of immediate, concrete actions… that I will announce in detail this week.”
He added in the memo that Gucci Creative Director Alessandro Michele is taking charge of writing a letter “expressing his feelings, which he will read shortly”.
– Cover Media0