Online fast fashion retailer Shein is under fire, once again, for an offensive item for sale on their website.
The retailer apologized on Saturday after removing a phone case from its website, which featured a design of a handcuffed Black man being outlined in chalk. This came after the company faced backlash after it was revealed that they hadn’t received permission from the artist who created the image back in 2014.
The phone case was being advertised as a new product and was being sold for $1.50, which is when screenshots of the item were posted online and sparked criticism from customers on social media. Now, Shein’s website no longer has the item listed.
According to reports from Buzzfeed News, Jayunna Williams, a 21-year-old from Oklahoma who posted the screenshots of the product, said it was “disturbing” to find it being sold online. She was searching for a phone case on the Shein website after the retailer was recommended to her by friends.
“I don’t know if it’s supposed to be a dead man but who even gave the company permission to put this on their site?” Williams told BuzzFeed News. “Why would someone at the company even approve that? It rubbed us the wrong way, especially people in the Black community. We’re really shocked because we put our money into companies like this and it’s a big a slap in the face.”
In an initial response to customers on social media upset over the phone case, Shein said that the artwork was “created in reaction to the 2014 murder of Michael Brown” to “show support for [the Black Lives Matter movement].”
Obviously, this didn’t match up, with customers quickly calling the company out for their explanation.
“A white hand..doing a chalk outline of a black person laying there (presumably de*d) in handcuffs and this was supposed to show support?? How? QUICKLY,” one user asked on Twitter.
In a response to Williams’ tweet, the company apologized, saying that she “brought to our attention that the art is being interpreted as racist” and that it was “contrary” to its actual meaning. The phone case is no longer for sale on the site.