Popular online retailer Shein has apologised after facing a backlash over its ‘swastika pendant necklace’.
In a public statement posted to Instagram, the e-commerce platform explained that it hadn’t intended the necklace to be offensive, and confirmed that the item has now been removed from the site.
Shein went on to clarify that the design had drawn inspiration from the ancient Buddhist swastika, rather than the symbol of hate and racism still widely used by fascists and White supremacists.
The statement began with Shein apologising for its ‘lack of sensitivity’:
We made a gigantic mistake by selling a product that’s hurtful and offensive to so many of you, and we’re so, so sorry. There’s simply no excuse for our lack of sensitivity in doing so.
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.
Shein revealed that a committee had been established in recent days to ensure products will now be properly reviewed before going on sale, with the brand pledging to ‘work even harder in the coming days to improve our product selection process’.
The pendant was brought to widespread attention after it was shared by Instagram account @hereforthetea2, with many people left disgusted and incredulous that such an item would be available to buy from the store.
Although it’s certainly good news that Shein have now taken the necklace down and admitted fault, it quite obviously should never have been there in the first place.
It’s truly shocking that nobody picked up on just how devastating it would be for shoppers to see a symbol so widely understood to be associated with antisemitism and the Holocaust, sold alongside ordinary fashion items.
Although the swastika has been used by Hindus and Buddhists for thousands of years – with the word swastika meaning ‘well-being’ – it was appropriated and corrupted by the Nazi party in the 20th century, used prominently on the party flag.
As per , Adolf Hitler deliberately chose this symbol to give his hateful ideas about a ‘master race’ a sense of having a historic basis.
This is unfortunately not the only instance in recent times that Shein has been called out for selling inappropriate and insensitive products.
Earlier this month, the brand was forced to apologise after it emerged Islamic prayer mats were being sold as ‘floral trim carpets’.