Popular American clothing retailer Forever 21 found itself at the center of a controversy this week after the fashion chain used a white model for a Black Panther-inspired Christmas sweater on its website.
The article in question is modeled after ugly holiday sweaters that are now so popularly ironic to wear in the wintertime. Utilizing red, yellow, and purple colors, the sweater contains the Black Panther logo along with the words "Wakanda Forever," the battle cry of citizens of the fictional African nation.
On the site, it was worn by a white male model, sparking outrage on social media and prompting Forever 21 to remove the listing and issue an apology.
"Forever 21 takes feedback on our products and marketing extremely seriously. We celebrate all superheroes with many different models of various ethnicities and apologize if the photo in question was offensive in any way," the retailer said, per The Hollywood Reporter.
The film, directed by Creed's Ryan Coogler, is considered a major contender at the upcoming Academy Awards, and has already nabbed a number of kudos from other award-giving bodies in the walk-up to it, including nominations for Golden Globes, SAG Awards, and Critics' Choice Awards. The film was also a box-office smash, raking in more than $1 billion globally. A sequel is already on the docket, with Coogler returning as director.