Forever 21 has pulled images of a white model wearing a Black Panther-inspired "Wakanda Forever" sweater from its website.
On Tuesday, the fast-fashion retailer shared a photo and link for their Wakanda Forever Fair Isle Sweater to Twitter with the photo featuring a blonde-haired, blue-eyed white male model wearing the sweater with the battle cry of the fictional African nation across the chest as part of the design. As one might imagine backlash was swift, prompting Forever 21 to delete the tweet though the sweater -- complete with images of the white model wearing it -- remained on the website for several more hours. At one point, the images remained, but the link redirected to another sweater, this one featuring a black model in a yellow and black sweater, instead.
Now, the white model's images have been completely removed and Forever 21 has issued a statement about the debacle.
"Forever 21 takes feedback on our products and marketing extremely seriously," a company representative said in a statement. "We celebrate all superheroes with many different models of various ethnicities and apologize if the photo in question was offensive in anyway."
Even with the images having been deleted from Twitter and removed from the retailer's website, the incident has sparked a deeper conversation on race and merchandising, particularly when it comes to films and entertainment that features black characters and artists. It's a conversation that is not new to Black Panther, either. Earlier this year, Disney came under fire when a collectible Black Panther pin available at Disney theme parks appeared to have a remarkably lighter-skinned appearance than one might expect for Black Panther/T'Challa to have. In that case, the pin appeared to have some sort of color variation potentially due to paint issues, though the issues may also have stemmed from lighting in photos of the item.
What do you think about Forever 21's response to the "Wakanda Forever" sweater controversy? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Avengers: Infinity War is now available on home video. Upcoming Marvel Cinematic Universe movies include Captain Marvel on March 8, 2019, Avengers: Endgame on April 26, 2019, and Spider-Man: Far From Home on July 5, 2019.
[ H/T: The Blast ]