Fashion brand Diesel has received criticised on social media for selling a £350 jacket that features a homophobic slur.
The satin bomber jacket is embellished with the word “f****t” on the front pocket with an all-over print design containing the same comment on the back.
The jacket forms part of the company’s “Hate Couture” range, which sells clothes covered in offensive and provocative terms. The idea behind the campaign is that by wearing and therefore embracing hurtful comments you can remove their power.
The line includes jackets with ‘not cool’ and ‘imposter’, T-shirts that read ‘slut’ and ‘the bad guy’, and hoodies covered in ‘Diesel is dead’.
A press release to launch the campaign explained: “We have all been victims of negativity and criticism on social media.
“Whatever you do online, there is always somebody ready to criticise. When hit by unjustified hate, most of us take a step back, but hiding and feeling bad about it is not going to help anyone.
“The truth is: the more you expose the hate you receive, the less power it has to cause harm.
“This is why we’re launching Haute Couture, a unique collection designed to do just that: disempower hate.”
— Diesel (@DIESEL) October 27, 2018
— Diesel (@DIESEL) October 17, 2018
To help promote the campaign celebrities including Nicki Minaj and Bella Thorne were asked to pick a word that had been used to describe them in an offensive online comment.
Bella Thorne chose the word “slut” after revealing she has been slut-shamed for her choice of clothes.
This particular jacket was worn by actor Tommy Dorfman, who chose the word “f****t” after receiving homophobic abuse online.
Despite the positive intentions behind the campaign, social media users have criticised the jacket for what some have described as commercialising homophobia.
— Danny (@r2danny2) November 7, 2018
Imagine the arrogance of a fashion brand that thinks it can change the meaning of a hate word that is still used against the LGBT+ community without their permission https://t.co/mVBrEHrrG3
— Poorna Bell (@poornabell) November 7, 2018
— D@vey (@da_stone) November 7, 2018
— NickHorbowyj (@NickHorbowyj) November 7, 2018
After receiving a backlash online when the campaign first launched back in September, Diesel responded in a statement.
“Our aim has always been to disempower those that create the hate and manifest negativity
“Every individual cast within the campaign relates personally to the issue itself.
“To bring awareness to the wider issue, each chose a phrase that they wanted to wear proudly with the goal of empowering others to take a stance.
“Together, Diesel and Tommy Dorfman use this as a platform to disempower the haters and show the more hate you wear, the less you care.”
Following the most recent furore Diesel told Yahoo UK in an email: “Diesel strongly feels that bullying is one of the critical issues of our times. Bullying in all forms effects millions worldwide and we are committed to using our platform to raise awareness for this issue. Creating Hate Couture our aim has always been to disempower those that create the hate and manifest negativity.
“To bring awareness to the wider issue, each celebrity that took part to the campaign was brave enough to choose a real comment they got online to wear proudly with the goal of empowering others to take a stance. Because the more hate you wear the less you care.
“Nicki Minaj was dubbed “The Bad Guy.” Gucci Mane was told “Fuck You, Imposter.” Bella Thorne was named a “Slut.” And, Tommy Dorfman was called “Faggot.”
“We hope that people will wear the collection with pride, owning the hate and battling against negativity. We have donated a portion of sales from Hate Couture together with OTB Foundation to the Ali Forney Center (a charity selected by Tommy Dorfman) whose mission is to protect LGBTQ youths from the harms of homelessness and empower them with the tools needed to live independently.”
Diesel isn’t the only fashion brand that has come under fire recently.
Last month ASOS drew criticism for seemingly banning shoppers who complain about their deliveries going missing.
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