Lululemon Under Fire After Employee Promotes 'Bat Fried Rice' T-Shirt on Instagram

Illustration for article titled Lululemon Under Fire After Employee Promotes 'Bat Fried Rice' T-Shirt on Instagram
Photo: Kevork Djansezian (Getty Images)

You would think a global pandemic would at least put a temporary freeze on fashion designers finding new ways to be racist, but here we are.


NBC News reports that Lululemon has come under fire as Trevor Flemming, a former art director for the company, posted a link on his personal Instagram account promoting a shirt design featuring a bat inside a Chinese takeout container alongside the words “no thanks.” Flemming didn’t design the shirt himself but was promoting the work of Jess Sluder, an artist based in California. Lululemon released a statement apologizing for the incident.

From NBC News:

“At Lululemon, our culture and values are core to who we are, and we take matters like this extremely seriously,” a spokesperson wrote in an email. “The image and the post were inappropriate and inexcusable and we do not tolerate this behavior.”

Flemming was similarly contrite. “I apologize to those that have been hurt by this. I commit to standing up against racist or discriminatory behavior and will work hard to ensure that my personal and professional contributions in the future are kind, inclusive and supportive.” Sluder has yet to release a comment about the shirt, though she has deleted the Instagram post promoting it.

Flemming was subsequently let go from Lululemon, though it’s unclear if it was due to this incident. Anti-Asian rhetoric has been steadily rising as the coronavirus pandemic continues, making it striking that both Sluder and Flemming thought this was a perfectly okay thing to do considering what’s going on in the world. I guess it takes getting fired for white people to realize that casual racism really isn’t the move.

The stylin', profilin', limousine riding, jet flying, wheelin' and dealin' nerd of The Root.


A Drop of Hell, A Touch of Strange

People here in the United States have gotten leprosy from eating and even handling armadillos so even if the theory that the novel coronavirus did jump from humans to bats by unsafe slaughter and butchering conditions is true it’s not like we have a hell of a lot of room to feel superior. We know leprosy exists and we’ve known armadillos carry it for a long time. That hasn't stopped nearly every case of leprosy here for decades from being related to the animal. People in China couldn’t have known that bats harbor a brand new disease.