Another clothing brand seems to be showing some cultural insensitivity and folks have called them out via an online petition.
According to WatchTheYard.com, a link (which has since been taken down) started circulating of Ralph Lauren’s French website, which was selling a pair of Ralph Lauren pants with the Greek letters Phi Beta Sigma on them. The symbols for the Black fraternity were located on the back of the pants in red and black. The price for such pants? 299.99 euros or 335.77 American dollars.
Folks caught wind of the expensive chinos and immediately, members of the Black fraternity and sorority community started slamming the clothing brand. Eventually, a petition even surfaced on Change.org.
“We are a week away from 106th anniversary of the founding of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. and what is plastered all over Social Media? An ad for Polo Ralph Lauren Chino Graphique Droit with the letters that represents Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. Greek Letters on the back crease of said pants,” the petition reads.
“If Polo is using these beloved letters so freely, where are the royalties going? To whom did they ask & get permission to use these letters, and why did they feel so comfortable doing this,” the petition continued. “We are demanding that Ralph Lauren do the right thing and RECALL, DESTROY, & PUBLICLY APOLOGIZE for trying to capitalize off of Black Culture!”
Eventually, Ralph Lauren released a statement to WatchTheYard.com not too long after the site published their article about the fiasco.
“The use of these symbols on our products was an oversight for which we deeply apologize. We are immediately taking action to remove the product from our sales channels,” the statement reads. “While we have a rigorous review process in place for all of our designs, this has prompted us to take another review of our protocols to help ensure that this does not happen again.”
They continued, “As an American brand with more than 50 years of heritage, Ralph Lauren is inspired by many facets of American culture. As part of this, we are firmly committed to respectful and appropriate use of all cultural icons and insignias.”
There’s no word on how many pants the company has sold before the apology.