Lululemon Art Director Fired After Promoting Racist T-Shirt on Instagram, CEO Sends Memo

Lululemon has fired one of their art directors in Vancouver after he promoted a t-shirt titled “Bat Fried Rice” on Instagram, which drew ire from the Asian community.

What Happened: On Sunday April 9, Venice-based designer Jess Sluder posted the shirt on Instagram and tagged Lululemon Art Director Trevor Fleming. TV personality and entrepreneur Dorothy Wang discovered the shirt and immediately reached out to the designer, but was promptly blocked. Because Fleming was tagged in the post and promoted the shirt on his Instagram bio, many believed he was involved in the shirt’s design. Chef Eddie Huang and designer Rocky Xu also publicly spoke out condemning the design. Sluder took down his post hours later. Read more…

Chinese Netizens Respond: By Tuesday April 21 in the afternoon in China, the hashtag “#lululemoninsultschina” was viewed 204 million times on China’s social media platform Weibo, with some demanding a boycott of the brand. (via Reuters)

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Designer Jess Sluder Issues Statement to NextShark: Sluder apologized for the hurtful nature the apparel art had on the Asian American community and clarified that Fleming nor Lululemon “had anything to do with my artwork.” Read full statement…

Lululemon Issues Statement and Fires Trevor Fleming: “At lululemon, our culture and values are core to who we are, and we take matters like this extremely seriously. 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.”

Lululemon CEO Calvin McDonald sends company-wide memo: “I want you to understand that culturally insensitive or discriminatory actions will not be tolerated at any level, in any form, within Lululemon… A moment like this reinforces the importance of diversity and inclusion and creating a positive workplace. I’m counting on each of you to take personal responsibility for your behaviors so that we can create and sustain the inclusive culture of Lululemon.” (via WWD)

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Ex-Lululemon Art Director Trevor Fleming Sends Statement to NextShark: “Dear Friends and Family, Recently I made a decision to support a friend’s design company by including a link on my personal Instagram profile to his on-line store. I have always stood for supporting my friends and family wherever possible, but what I did not know at that time, is that—” Read more..

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