Hollister is in trouble and this time it’s a lot worse than bad Photoshop.
Earlier this month, the company hosted a splashy opening party for their first Korean store and carted in models “dressed as lifeguards” (like the ones above) to take pictures with adoring fans. Although it still blows our minds that people queue up for iPhone photos with shirtless strangers, demand is demand, and it’s the same in Korea as it is on 5th Ave, apparently.
But rather than stand there with dopey grins while discreetly flexing, things got super racist. English Korean news site koreaBANG reported, “Images of models making ‘squinty eyes’ faces, flipping their middle finger to photographers, and mocking Asian pronunciation of English appeared on their Twitter accounts.”
Sure, one of the models was photographed giving the middle finger, but others posted offensive content to Twitter, like one photo featuring the model “standing in front of Gyeongbokkung Palace, squinting his eyes and making peace signs with his fingers. When one commenter remarked on how many Asians had liked the photo, he responded, ‘Hahahaha they ruhhvvvv itttt!’”
Oh, here it is:
The brand has a real shitshow on its hands, now that Korean customers have threatened to boycott. Here’s their official apology via Facebook:
Hollister Co. and its parent company Abercrombie & Fitch value diversity and inclusion. In a recent incident in South Korea, a couple of associates did not adhere to these values. As a company, we do not tolerate inappropriate or offensive behavior. We terminated the associates involved as a result of their actions. On behalf of our more than 80,000 employees around the world who cherish our core values and our culture of diversity and inclusion, we sincerely apologize for the offense caused by these unauthorized, ill-considered actions.
Look, there’s no excuse to be a racist bastard at any age, but this whole thing strikes us as yet another reason why professional modeling careers need to start later in life.