Lululemon’s cut ties with one of its art directors for promoting a “Bat Fried Rice” shirt many feel is racist and designed to push anti-Asian sentiment amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The popular exercise apparel brand apologized Tuesday for its involvement in the controversy, which ignited Sunday after Lululemon employee Trevor Fleming shared a link to the shirt for sale by California artist Jess Sluder.
As you can see, the white and red long-sleeve t-shirt features chopsticks with bat wings on the front and a Chinese takeout box with bat wings on the back … along with the words “No Thank You” on the box and down the sleeves.
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.”
Though the COVID-19 virus is believed to have come from bats, reports of violence against Asians have increased since the start of the pandemic due to its apparent origin of China.
Lululemon responded to the outrage over its affiliation with the “Bat Fried Rice” shirt by firing Fleming and rebuking the shirt’s message as inappropriate and inexcusable.
The company says, “We acted immediately, and the person involved is no longer an employee of Lululemon.” It added that the shirt design is not a Lululemon product and it opposes “any discriminatory behaviours.”