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PSA: Not all frogs are cute.
Fast-fashion brand Zara recently came under fire for selling a denim skirt embellished with Pepe the Frog. Yes, that Pepe the Frog — the viral internet meme that is frequently used by white supremacists. No, I can't believe I'm writing this story. *sigh*
Congratulations, Zara, you are the first brand to make a denim skirt offensive.
The "alt-right"-themed skirt was first brought to light on Twitter by Megan Fredette, who wrote, "Zara is really out there trying to sell a P*pe the frog skirt, apparently unaware (?) of its current implications."
After Fredette's tweet gathered considerable attention from other Twitter users and the media, the skirt was yanked from Zara's U.S. and U.K. websites.
A spokesperson for the brand, which is owned by Spain-based Inditex, the world's biggest fashion retailer, told TODAY Style in a statement:
"The skirt is part of the limited Oil-On-Denim collection which was created through collaborations with artists and is only available in selected markets. The designer of the skirt is Mario de Santiago, known online as Yimeisgreat. Mario explores social interactions through his work and in his own words: 'The idea came from a wall painting I drew with friends some years ago.' There is absolutely no link to the suggested theme."
We're glad it's now "retired," but it's left us scratching our heads. Not one person at the $10.7 billion dollar brand, ranked the 53rd most valuable company, was able to catch this comparison before it hit production?
Some background on Pepe the Frog: He was first created in 2005 by Matt Furie, for the comic series "Boy's Club." The sad-looking frog with thin lips wasn't meant to be a vehicle for hateful commentary on the internet. Unfortunately, over time, the "sad frog meme" gained popularity with so-called alt-right users who used the meme in conjunction with racist, anti-Semitic and bigoted posts. The Anti-Defamation League even declared Pepe the Frog an official "hate symbol" in September.
This isn't the first time Zara has found itself in hot water. Less than two months ago, Zara released it's "love your curves" campaign, which starred two models who had absolutely no curves in sight.
Back in 2014, the retailer had to yank another design off their shelves: a kids' shirt resembling a concentration camp uniform.
Zara, we're dealing with enough issues nowadays. Please leave our skirts out of political commentary.