Zara regrets 'misunderstanding' over 'sick' photoshoot after Gaza boycott calls
The campaign featured a model posing surrounded by debris resembling the devastation in Gaza, along with statues shrouded wrapped in white which looked like the bodies of Palestinian children killed in Israel's indiscriminate strikes on Gaza.
This triggered widespread calls for a boycott of the fashion brand and protests outside some of its stores.
People left tens of thousands of complaints about the campaign on Zara's Instagram account, saying the images resembled photos of corpses in white shrouds in Gaza. "#BoycottZara" trended on messaging platform X.
Zara said the campaign, which also featured mannequins with missing limbs, had been conceived in July and photographed in September, before Israel's war on Gaza began, and was meant to show unfinished sculptures in a sculptor's studio.
"Unfortunately, some customers felt offended by these images, which have now been removed, and saw in them something far from what was intended when they were created," Zara said in an Instagram post.
The images were used "with the sole purpose of showcasing craftmade garments in an artistic context", it added.
"Zara regrets that misunderstanding and we reaffirm our deep respect towards everyone," Zara said.
However, Zara has been the target of previous boycott calls by Palestinian activists. Last year its Israeli franchise holder hosted extremist politician Itamar Ben-Gvir, who is now Israel's Public Security Minister, at his home.
Some social media users have criticized the statement, labeling it a "non-apology apology" and noting its lack of sensitivity towards the humanitarian crisis and accountability for the campaign.
I’ve never worked in fashion but I have worked in print publishing. I can’t tell you how many times a story I worked on for months had to be pulled on print day to avoid any risks. @ZARA “I’m sorry you feel that way” isn’t really an apology. Oh and btw, people are not “offended”… pic.twitter.com/dAwRFnI9bf— Lubna Hamdan (@LubnaHamdan0) December 12, 2023
Six posts showcasing the campaign were scrubbed from Zara's Instagram page, and parent company Inditex said the photos has been pulled from all platforms. Zara had already pulled the "Atelier" photoshoot from its website and app home pages on Monday.
The jackets were still for sale on Zara sites.
(Reuters and The New Arab Staff)