VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Lululemon issued a statement Tuesday apologizing for a now-former employee who promoted a T-shirt online that the company condemned as “inappropriate and inexcusable.”
On Sunday, Trevor Fleming, who was an art director at the Canadian exercise apparel brand, posted a T-shirt created by a California artist, for sale on his Instagram page.
The shirt depicts a Chinese take-out container with bat wings, and says “bat-fried-rice” on it.
The post fuelled a furor on some social media sides, with some commentators saying the shirt propagates racist stereotypes amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and demanding a boycott of the brand.
More #COVID19 racism by linking bats (incorrect virus source; it’s undetermined) with the iconic Chinese American takeout container & fried rice. This is NOT #humornothate. Your laughs and “art” put people’s lives & safety at risk.
— Kevin Huang｜黃儀軒 (@yskevinhuang) April 19, 2020
Lululemon says the shirt itself is not one of the company’s products.
“At lululemon, our culture and values are core to who we are, and we take matters like this extremely seriously. The T-shirt design is not a lululemon product. We apologize that an employee was affiliated with promoting an offensive T-shirt, and we take this very seriously,” says a company spokesperson.
“The image and the post were inappropriate and inexcusable and we do not tolerate this behaviour. We acted immediately, and the person involved is no longer an employee of lululemon.”