17 August 2019
Zara says the shirt was inspired by the sheriff's star from classic Western movies. Photo: Haaretz
Zara says the shirt was inspired by the sheriff's star from classic Western movies. Photo: Haaretz

Zara pulls striped ‘Holocaust’ shirt after online outcry

Spain’s fashion retailer Zara has apologized for selling a striped shirt with a yellow star after drawing criticism for its resemblance to uniforms worn by Jewish concentration camp inmates, CNN reports.

The company said the children’s pyjamas were inspired by “the sheriff’s star” from classic Western movies.

Nonetheless, the offending item was removed from Zara’s stores and website, Zara’s parent company Inditex said in a press release.

The shirt was on sale for a few hours before the company pulled it “due to the potential similarity with the Star of David”, Inditex said, adding that sales were “marginal” and the remaining products would be “destroyed”.

“We honestly apologize,” Zara said on Twitter in response to outraged tweets. 

“Inditex would like to reiterate its utmost respect for all cultures and religions,” the statement said. “The group is a company where people from 180 nationalities work together representing all the cultures, races and religions of the modern world. Inditex is proud of its cultural diversity.

“In addition, respect and dignity feature among the principles which guide and define its corporate values. The group condemns and rejects any form of discrimination.”

It’s not the first time Zara has drawn criticism for using controversial imagery, CNN said, citing a statement from the World Jewish Congress, one of many groups that assailed the garment on social media.

The fashion chain withdrew a line of handbags from stores in Britain in 2007 after some said the design featured Nazi swastikas.

“The bag had been produced in Asia, however, where the symbol also carries ancient cultural significance,” the World Jewish Congress said.

The Anti-Defamation League said it welcomed the removal of the “deeply offensive” shirt.

“The shirt emblazoned with the yellow star is in poor taste and is deeply offensive to Jews and Holocaust survivors,” it said in a statement. “To anyone who knows their history, this kind of imagery should be off-limits. We welcome Zara’s recognition of the shirt’s potentially offensive imagery and removal from sale.

“This is not the first time we have seen a retail clothing company making this same offensive mistake. The fact that this keeps happening shows that there is a serious need for education about the Holocaust and the history of anti-Semitism.”

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