A Chinese fashion brand has recalled T-shirts printed with English phrases including “WELCOME TO HELL” and “LET ME TOUCH YOU” after they sparked outrage among consumers.
The designs by JNBY, one of the most successful Chinese premium fashion brands, drew controversy after a woman posted photos of a children’s shirt on social media, protesting what she called its “disgusting” design.
The woman said her parents bought the shirt last year without understanding the English phrases printed on it, and she only recently saw the disturbing content.
Some of the design elements appear to be lifted from old comic strips and artworks. Many internet users have associated these elements with promoting violence, sex and pedophilia.
On Thursday, JNBY’s kidswear label, jnby by JNBY, apologized for the design on the microblogging site Weibo. The company said it had taken the clothes off shelves and would allow buyers to return the products.
“Our original intention was to promote better, more unique creations,” its statement said. “We also deeply understand that the most important thing is to spread beautiful values.”
The apology has failed to ease public outrage, as consumers continue to share photos of other offensive designs they say came from the same brand.
One hoodie, for example, had a bleeding rabbit head on its front, while a dress carried a pattern of someone touching their own genitals.
Another piece was printed with cartoons that showed a character reaching for a gun, along with the words “The whole place is full of Indians. I will take this gun and blow them to pieces.”
Some of the other designs appear to be inspired by famous Western artworks. The “hands on genitals” pattern was taken from The Garden of Earthly Delights, an oil painting about the fate of humanity by Dutch artist Hieronymus Bosch in around the 15th century.
But many commenters said the nod to classic paintings do not justify the inappropriate designs, and they vowed to boycott the brand. The company’s shares fell 13 percent on Friday in the Hong Kong market.
“Evil cults, pedophilia, darkness. No way you can whitewash this,” says the top-voted comment under the company’s statement on Weibo.
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