Once is a mistake, twice is a coincidence, but three times? That’s just plain wrong. The fast-fashion retailer Zara has released a third item of racist clothing in their new spring collection, this time featuring the white supremacist mascot of Pepe the frog.
To give you some background, Pepe the frog is a drawing of a frog that has been co-opted by the alt-right movement and is now constantly used in racist and anti-Semitic memes and images. It’s come to symbolize the white supremacy movement.
And now Zara has decided to use Pepe in their new spring line on a jean skirt. The frog featured is undeniably Pepe, there is no way around it. And if this were the first time Zara had done something like this, we would have thought maybe it was by accident. But as previously stated, this is the third piece of anti-Semitic clothing the company has featured.
Previously, the company created a child’s t-shirt which featured a yellow Star of David, much like the ones Jews were forced to wear on their clothing under Nazi rule. Zara claimed it was supposed to be a sheriff’s badge and apologized. They also released a handbag in 2007 that featured a green swastika.
We can’t decide which is worse: Zara pleading ignorance or their deliberate attempt to convey a racist message through their clothing.
But unfortunately, there have been reports of rampant racism behind the scenes at Zara as well. In June 2015, Zara was sued for $40 million by an employee who claims he was fired for being Jewish and gay. According to the suit, he received homophobic emails and overheard anti-Semitic remarks.
Additionally, customers are also being targeted based on their race. A report released by the Center for Popular Democracy found the black customers were significantly more likely to be targeted and designated “suspicious” by the employees. (Obviously, that’s a trend at many clothing stores, but in light of all the other information, it doesn’t bode well for Zara).
Zara has received quite a bit of backlash for the Pepe skirt and has since pulled it from stores. The designer claims that “there is absolutely no link to the suggested theme.”
But the truth is that Zara has no motivation to stop these practices. Despite all of this, the chain has continued to do well and seemingly has yet to lose any real business. Perhaps it’s time for an organized boycott of Zara, hmm?