«I was saddened when it was brought to my attention that it was being compared to painful images reminiscent of blackface,» the statement said. «Our intention was never to inflict any pain. We have immediately removed them from http://katyperrycollections.com.»
The shoes also disappeared from the Dillard’s website, and they were not available at Lord & Taylor and Macy’s on Tuesday.
The outcry followed a particularly clueless year for fashion designers: It’s hard to forget H&M’s advertisement featuring a black child wearing a sweatshirt that said «Coolest Monkey in the Jungle.» Or Prada’s «Pradamalia collection»: bag charms with big red lips that resembled a Little Black Sambo figure.
More recently, both Gucci and Adidas apologised and pulled products widely viewed as racist: an $US890 black Gucci knit top with a balaclava-style collar that covered half the face, the cutout for the mouth framed by large red lips; and entirely white Adidas shoes that were meant to commemorate Black History Month.
Filmmaker Spike Lee announced on Instagram last week that he would no longer wear Prada or Gucci «until they hire some black designers,» adding that the companies «don’t have a clue when it comes to racist, blackface hateful imagery.»
Blackface references seem almost inescapable this month: Racist photos have implicated several politicians, and opinion polls have shown its prevalence in American culture.
Virginia’s governor, Ralph Northam, a Democrat, came under fire for a medical school yearbook page showing a photo of someone in a Ku Klux Klan uniform and another person in blackface. He later admitted to wearing blackface while dressing up as Michael Jackson.
His attorney general, Mark R. Herring, admitted that he wore blackface to dress as rapper Kurtis Blow in the 1980s. And Thomas K. Norment Jr., the Republican majority leader in the Virginia Senate, was revealed to be a top editor of a 1968 yearbook that included photographs of students in blackface and racist slurs.
In Florida, a much more recent image surfaced of state Rep. Anthony Sabatini, 30, wearing blackface in high school.
«I’m 16 years old, one of my best friends of the time was black, and we thought at the time — looking back, it was immature — it would be funny to dress as each other,» Sabatini told The Orlando Sentinel.
A recent study from Pew Research found that 39 per cent of white, non-Hispanic adults say blackface can be acceptable as part of a Halloween costume, compared with 28 per cent of Hispanic people and 19 per cent of black people. Among white people, those younger than 30 were «far less accepting» of blackface than older ones, the study said.
Last year, television host Megyn Kelly wondered on air why it was inappropriate for white people to dress up in blackface. Her show, «Megyn Kelly Today,» was later cancelled by NBC.
The New York Times