The Swedish-based H & M clothing chain has recalled thousands of vest tops adorned with a skull inside a Star of David after angry complaints from customers.
“The order has been stopped and the others have been pulled,” said a H & M spokeswoman. “This was because of the feedback we received.”
H M rejected a Boycott Israel effort several years not to open stores in Israel, where it has been highly successful. H & M operates more than 3,000 stores in 53 countries.
The image of the skull and the Star of David aroused negative responses. “I note that your UK store on Oxford Street stocks a tank top featuring a skull superimposed on what resembles a star of David. The juxtaposition of a Jewish symbol with satanic imagery is highly offensive and redolent of classic anti-Semitic imagery,” complained one customer, David Arnold, according to the London Jewish Chronicle.
H & M stated, “Please accept our most sincere apologies that this has caused offense. We understand the criticism and in response to this have decided to remove the T-shirt from all stores with immediate effect.”
The design may not have been intended to offend Jews, and others, but it quickly realized the marketing idea was in poor taste.
Ironically, it was reported the same day that H & M has been named a 2014 World’s Most Ethical Company by the Ethisphere Institute, an independent research group that promotes “best practices in corporate ethics and governance.”