Just four days after fast fashion brand SHEIN was called out on Twitter for selling Muslim prayer mats as home decor with descriptions like “Fringe Trim Greek Fret Carpet” and “Flower Print Tassle Trim Carpet,” another offensive item sold on the brand’s website went viral. This time, it was a swastika necklace.
Like the mats, the necklace, described on the site as a “metal swastika pendant necklace” and sold for $2.50, has been removed, but not before fashion influencer Marissa Casey Grossman – and a number of others – captured a screenshot of the listing.
Grossman, known as Fashion Ambitionist, shared the screenshot with her 165k Instagram followers on Thursday. The caption reads: “HOLY FUCK. I have zero words. I will NEVER be buying from @sheinofficial @shein_us EVER again. This is a company that I’ve bought from so much over the years and to see this is ABSOLUTELY disgusting. I didn’t believe this when I saw it- so did a simple search on their site. And, there it was.”
Twitter users are equally outraged by the brand’s selling of the anti-Semitic symbol. “In case u needed another reason to boycott shein: they are selling fucking SWASTIKA NECKLACES,” @ronit tweeted alongside a screenshot of the necklace. “This is ACTIVELY THREATENING to the jewish community. i’ve seen you all posting about other issues but being silent on antisemitism – do NOT let shein get away with this.” @Killerkingggg tweeted: “So what was said about SHEIN again????? This is fucking disgusting.”
When asked for comment, a representative from the brand said this: “SHEIN was not selling a Nazi swastika pendant, the necklace is a Buddhist swastika which has symbolized spirituality and good fortune for more than a thousand years. The Nazi swastika has a different design, it is pointed clockwise and tilted at an angle. However, because we understand the two symbols can be confused and one is highly offensive, we have removed the product from our site.”
The statement continued: “As a multicultural and global brand, we want to apologize profusely to those who are offended, we are sensitive to these issues and want to be very clear that we in no way support or condone racial, cultural and religious prejudice or hostility.” The brand representative also shared that the company is setting up a product review committee for future items “to ensure that [it] respects [its] diverse community.”
“We are a global and all-inclusive brand and we are taking extreme measures to ensure that all items are cleared through a rigorous vetting process before we retail them,” the statement concluded.
In Hinduism, the right-facing symbol (卐) is called swastika, symbolizing surya (‘sun’), prosperity and good luck. Maybe that’s not their intention ..shein is already banned here in India though ..I just want people to know ..
– Supriya (@gma_sorout) July 9, 2020
The origin of the symbol was also brought up on Twitter, specifically in response to @killerkingggg’s tweet. “In Hinduism, the right-facing symbol (卐) is called swastika, symbolizing surya (‘sun’), prosperity and good luck. Maybe that’s not their intention ..shein is already banned here in India though ..I just want people to know ..,” Supriya, a fellow Twitter user, responded. Hannah wrote: “Hard agree, I wouldn’t wear it specifically because of what it most widely represents in the US, but I think it’s sad something so peaceful & sacred has been bastardized to the point that people can’t even use it associated with its real meaning :/.”
According to , in Sanskrit, the word swastika means “well-being” and has been used as a symbol for good luck by Hindus, Buddhists, and Jains. Even so, following Hitler’s rise to power in the 1930s, the symbol widely took on a new meaning, one that to this day represents anti-Semitism, white supremacy, homophobia, and more.