Lululemon Has Apologized After a Staffer Promoted a Racist T-Shirt

Lululemon has apologized after a staffer promoted an offensive T-shirt online.

Reuters reports that the staffer, Trevor Fleming, who was a senior global art director at the brand, had reportedly shared a link on his Instagram page promoting a T-shirt from California artist Jess Sluder, which was called "bat fried rice." The long-sleeved T-shirt featured a design of a pair of chopsticks with bat wings on the front and a Chinese takeout box with bat wings on the back, and read, "no thank you" along the sleeves. 

According to TMZ, Sluder was selling the shirt for $60 and thanked buyers for their support and sense of humor in a now-deleted post, adding, "Where did COVID-19 come from? Nothing is certain, but we know a bat was involved."

Amid increasing physical and verbal attacks on Asian people stoked by myths about the coronavirus (namely the xenophobic blaming of the virus on Chinese culture), the shirt faced outcry online.

"At lululemon, our culture and values are core to who we are, and we take matters like this extremely seriously," the brand said in a statement to InStyle. "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. 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."

Fleming's Instagram account is now set to private, but his bio reads, "I deeply apologize for putting the URL in my bio. I did not design the t-shirt, nor did I participate in any part of its creation."

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