Forever 21 this week faced furious backlash on social media after sharing a photo of a white model wearing a Black Panther-themed Christmas jumper.
The brand were slammed for what many people saw as an attempt to profit off a film with a majority of black stars by making a jumper containing the slogan ‘Wakanda Forever’ and advertising it on a white model who has blonde hair and blue eyes.
They shared the image on Twitter on Tuesday, but due to an onslaught of complaints, quickly took the post down.
One person asked: "Wakanda bulls*** is this, Forever 21?"
Another posted: "Hey Forever 21, in what universe did you think it was ok to feature a white model in Wakanda gear? Granted, chances are you knew it wasn’t ok, but still. As a former 21 Men brand specialist for the company, I’m highly offended."
A third added: "Not even Wakanda can escape gentrification."
"Lol Wakanda people you got on y’alls marketing team? Cause… this ain’t it," said a fourth.
However many others didn’t see a problem with the way the sweater was being promoted.
A Black Panther fan on Twitter wrote: "Why was it the first thing you noticed, who cares about skin colour, it’s an awesome sweater and an awesome film."
Someone else commented: "I am one of the palest people I know and I absolutely LOVE Black Panther. It’s my favourite Marvel movie… I don’t see ‘colour’ when I look at someone. I see a human being. Skin colour shouldn’t matter, I’d buy this sweater."
"People got mad because Forever 21 had a white male wearing a Wakanda Forever sweater. Y’all so aggravating and complain about everything. Like why can’t someone white be showcased wearing that? Black Panther is a Marvel character created for any and everybody to enjoy. RELAX," added another frustrated person.
Following the debate, Forever 21 temporarily removed the sweater from their online store.
The item has since returned, but no longer features the image of the white model – instead the sweater is now on a plain background with no one wearing it.
They have also apologised for any offence caused.
A spokesperson for Forever 21 said: "Forever 21 takes feedback on our products and marketing extremely seriously.
"We celebrate all superheroes with many different models of various ethnicities and apologize if the photo in question was offensive in any way."
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