A children’s clothing line found itself in PR trouble after a tweet on Wednesday uploaded a picture showing a T-shirt featuring a monkey’s body, paired with the cardboard cutout of an African-American boy’s face.
The company, Just Add A Kid, has quickly jumped on the defensive, announcing that it was “a total misunderstanding.”
The company co-creator, Lowell Cohen, spoke to the Daily News by phone and said that they were “looking into all the situations that occurred around this little incident,” and that “we’re looking at the vendor, we’re speaking to our employees.”
Other t-shirts in the line feature bodies that range from surfers to cowboys, princesses, angels, and various animals and occupations. In a statement issued later, Just Add A Kid clarified that the pairing was “not authorized, condoned or tolerated” and that the various cardboard cutouts are intended to reflect the multiculturalism of their marketing strategy:
The head shots on our hangers are intended (to) reflect the different cultures of our happy customers, and are distributed separately to our shirts. In this particular case, one of our retailers paired a particular hanger with a shirt without consideration for how it may appear to many consumers.We are taking steps to prevent this from happening again.
How the various cardboard cutouts are paired with the clothing is up to the vender. Just A Kidd added in another statement released on Twitter that “Our designs feature multicultural skin tones and appropriately matching header cards (to) showcase children of the world.”
The response is standard PR spin control, but the problem ultimately appears to lie with the vendor, and Cohen declined to say who the vendor was. If this were one shirt, I could see it being an accident. But if you look closely at the rest of the cardboard cutouts on that rack, they’re all the African-American child. Whether or not they’re all the monkey shirt I can’t tell, but my intuition and past experience knowing how clothing is organized in stores suggests that they are.
source: NY Daily News