Fast fashion retailer Shein sold a pendant necklace with a swastika charm on its website
- Online fast fashion retailer Shein previously offered a pendant necklace with a "swastika" charm.
- The product was removed from the website, a representative for Shein confirmed to Insider.
- The representative said the "necklace is a Buddhist swastika which has symbolized spirituality and good fortune for more than a thousand years," adding that "because we understand the two symbols can be confused, and one is highly offensive, we have removed the product from our site."
- Multiple Twitter users had called out the brand for its use of the symbol.
- Shein recently faced criticism for selling Islamic prayer mats under the title of "decorative rugs," and apologized in a statement posted on Instagram.
Online clothing retailer Shein, known for its trendy and cheap fast-fashion, has been selling a gold-colored swastika pendant necklace.
As of Thursday afternoon, the product, called the "Metal Pendant Necklace," appeared among the website's jewelry offerings. The accessory with Nazi symbolism retailed for $2.50. When Insider navigated to the item's information, an error message appeared on the page, and the "add to cart" button yielded the words "Sold Out."
The exact direction of the symbol used in the necklace is a mirrored variation of the swastika — a Sanskrit word that means "well-being" — that is based in Buddhism and is a symbol for peace and luck, Quartz reported. Adolf Hitler commandeered the symbol as the Nazi party's main emblem, changing the symbol's meaning well beyond World War II.
Some tweets that called out the item included screenshots showing that the word "swastika" was part of the product name, but Insider could not independently verify this information. At press time, soon after multiple Twitter users tweeted about the necklace, a representative for Shein confirmed that the item has been removed.
The representative told Insider in a statement that "the necklace is a Buddhist swastika which has symbolized spirituality and good fortune for more than a thousand years." The representative added that because of the direction of the symbol, it was not the Nazi swastika. "However, because we understand the two symbols can be confused, and one is highly offensive, we have removed the product from our site."
"As a multicultural and global brand, we want to apologize profusely to those who are offended, we are sensitive to these issues and want to be very clear that we in no way support or condone racial, cultural and religious prejudice or hostility," the representative said.
The company put out a public statement on Friday. "The Buddhist symbol has stood for spirituality and good fortune for more than a thousand years, and has a different design than the Nazi swastika which stands for hate — but frankly, that doesn't matter because we should've been more considerate of the symbol's hurtful connotations to so many people around the world, and we didn't," the statement said.
—SHEIN (@SHEIN_official) July 10, 2020
In the last week, Shein already came under fire for selling Islamic prayer mats as "decorative rugs." In a statement shared to Instagram, after fashion influencer and inclusivity activist Nabela Noor tweeted about the products, the brand called the product a "highly offensive oversight."
Shein, which is headquartered in China, adds 500 new products to its website every single day, according to a May press release from the brand. "With the abundance of choice we provide, our customers can intricately craft that perfect look which reflects their individuality. Simply put, we help you do you," the company said in the press release.
The brand is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau, which has reported hundreds of complaints against the company in the last three years. There has also been skepticism over the company's designs, as multiple parties have complained to or formally sued Shein for copyright infringement.
As far-right and neo-Nazi symbolism continues to be prevalent online — from TikTok Holocaust memes to websites sharing anti-Semitic conspiracy theories — online marketplaces like Amazon and Etsy have been criticized over products with such symbols, including QAnon-themed merchandise. But on those platforms, products are sold by third-party retailers, and the platform is simply the middleman. Products advertised on Shein's website are curated and sold by the company itself.
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