Roommates, online retailer SHEIN found themselves in hot water earlier this week after a photo of one of their products made its rounds online. The product is a black phone case featuring cartoon art that shows the arrest and chalk outline of a Black man. A white hand can be seen drawing the outline, while the Black character looks on with a frown on his face. The art also shows that the character whom the white hand belongs to is wearing a long-sleeved blue shirt — which critics interpreted as a police officer’s uniform.
Social media users did not respond well to the phone case, with some pledging to stop making purchases from the site. On Saturday, the company responded to one of those users and addressed the product.
The user, by the name @JaYunnaMonae, mentioned the company in a tweet saying “Now @SHEIN_official……I won’t send you another dollar after this. This really shocked me. Not cool.”
SHEIN responded directly to this user apologizing for the offense and clarifying the art’s intention.
“You’ve brought to our attention that the art is being interpreted as racist, which is contrary to its actual meaning,” the company’s official Twitter account wrote. “For those we offended we sincerely apologize.”
In a second post, they clarified the origin of the art saying “the art was created in reaction to the 2014 murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson and meant to show support for BLM.”
People online then took notice that the product, priced at $1.50, was no where to be found on SHEIN’s site. SHEIN followed up once again responding directly to @JaYunnaMonae original tweet.
“We’ve removed the product out of respect for our community and want to clarify we never got the artist’s permission to use the art which was not meant for commercial use,” SHEIN tweeted.
We’ve removed the item out of respect for our community and want to clarify we never got the artist’s permission to use the art which was not meant for commercial use.
— SHEIN (@SHEIN_official) May 22, 2021
The artist SHEIN refers to is Jean Jullien, a French graphic artist. Prior to SHEIN’s clarification tweets, Jean critiqued the their use of his art on his Instagram Story. Along with his message, Jean also re-shared the now viral art.
“I’ve received a lot of messages alerting me that Shein had used this image on phone cases, without my consent,” Jean wrote. “taking it out of its context that was to raise awareness on what happened in Ferguson in 2014, in support of Black Lives Matter.”
Roommates, what do you think about the situation?
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