Spanish retail giant Zara found itself in the middle of a controversy after its head designer Vanessa Perliman allegedly made anti-Muslim, anti-Palestine remarks in a conversation with a Palestinian model.
Qaher Harhash, a Palestinian model from occupied east Jerusalem, shared screenshots of his conversation with Perliman on Instagram. The fast fashion giant now faces the heats as calls to boycott the brand are trending on social media.
Defending Israel and putting the blame of terrorism in Gaza and Palestinians, Perliman allegedly writes in the message: “Maybe if your people were educated, they wouldn’t blow up hospitals and schools that Israel helped to pay for in Gaza.” “Israelis don’t teach children to hate, nor throw stones at soldiers as your people do,” Perliman states as per the screen shots posted by Harhash.
“The people in my industry know the truth about Israel and Palestine and I will never stop defending Israel. People like you just come and go in the end. Maybe if your people were educated then they won’t go and blow-up schools and hospitals that Israel helped to pay for in Gaza,” she added.
Harhash wrote to Zara complaining about the incident. However, he was disappointed with the “generic feedback” she received as the brand’s response.
Expressing his disappointment, he shared another screenshot of the email he received as the response to his complaint against Perilman and called to boycott the brand.
He wrote: “This is @zara’s generic feedback to everyone who got in touch with them regarding Venessa Perliman. This is a disappointing and frankly insulting response from the brand. Venessa’s hate speech is extremely xenophobic and racist. It’s laughable that Zara justified her behaviour by claiming she “apologized” and “that’s that”. ZARA, you are now complicit. The power is in your purse people and based on this response from the brand, it’s time to: #BOYCOTTZARA.”
Since then, several users called out ZARA for not taking strict action against Perliman.
A user shared that she emailed Zara for a statement too and the brand took a rather casual approach to her request. “Vanessa Perliman, a head designer at Zara, DM-ed a young Palestinian model this racist garbage and when she was called out, gave a lukewarm apology before deleting all her social media. I emailed Zara to demand that disciplinary action be taken and this was their dismal response.”
Another user wrote: “So apparently, Zara’s Head Designer Vanessa Perilman was caught being Islamophobic and abusive about Palestinian people? Zara, if this is true and all you did was basically nothing because she didn’t use your own branded social media account, that is a cop-out.”
One of the users wrote: “Absolutely disgraceful! Backing these types of comments from your designers? No wonder the standards of your clothing have dropped! The company needs to educate itself and its staff!”