This pandemic has caused many to target Asians around the world. Racist and xenophobic remarks have been pelted at Asians due to the COVID-19 pandemic that reportedly began in Wuhan, China. Reports have surfaced that verbal and physical attacks have occurred in Australia, various parts of Europe, and throughout the United States—just to name a few. Actress Karrueche Tran, along with many other celebrities, came forward to speak out against racism against Asians and Asian cultures during this time. However, athletic clothing brand Lululemon missed the memo and came under fire for creating a “Bat Friend Rice” shirt.
According to USA Today, Trevor Fleming, the Global Art Director at Lululemon, shared a link to the $60 top over the weekend. The white, longsleeved shirt was designed by California artist Jess Sluder and featured an image of a Chinese food takeout container with batwings. The words “No Thank You” were printed on the container and alongside the arms. The image perpetuates the story that a man who ate bat soup in Wuhan, China is responsible for spreading coronavirus among humans.
“At lululemon, our culture and values are core to who we are, and we take matters like this extremely seriously,” Lululemon spokeswoman Erin Hankinson told USA Today in a statement. “We apologize that an employee was affiliated with promoting an offensive t-shirt… The image and the post were inappropriate and inexcusable and we do not tolerate this behavior.” They added, “We acted immediately, and the person involved is no longer an employee of lululemon.” It’s unclear if the artist or the persons who approved the design were let go.