Lululemon Athletica has issued an apology for the “Bat Fried Rice” T-shirt and is working to distance itself from former art director Trevor Fleming, who helped promote the shirt on social media.
The mess started over the weekend when Fleming shared a link advertising the shirt — which features a flying Chinese take out box with bat wings and the words “No Thank You” on the box and its sleeves, along with an image of chopsticks and bat wings — on his personal Instagram. The shirt, called “bat fried rice,” priced at $60, was created by California-based artist Jess Sluder.
But the shirt — and Fleming’s willingness to share details on where to buy it — quickly caused a stir on social media. The backlash included critics accusing Lululemon of racism and using hashtags like #BoycottLululemon and #LululemonInsultsChina on Instagram and the Chinese platform Weibo.
Critics on social media slammed both Lululemon and artist Jess Sluder, who created the shirt and uses the Instagram handle @deadringer, of xenophobia.
The Canadian athletic-apparel retailer immediately issued an apology saying, “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