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Outcry over Israeli presenter’s ‘To Gaza with Love’ missile signing

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Outcry over Israeli presenter’s ‘To Gaza with Love’ missile signing

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Zara pulls ad, says it regrets ‘misunderstanding’ over photoshoot after Gaza boycott calls

LONDON: Fashion brand Zara said on Tuesday it regretted the “misunderstanding” over an ad campaign featuring statues wrapped in white that triggered calls for a boycott by some pro-Palestinian activists, and it had removed the images.

People left tens of thousands of complaints about the campaign on Zara’s Instagram account, saying the images resembled photos of corpses in white shrouds in Gaza.

“#BoycottZara” trended on messaging platform X, with several users accusing the Spanish fashion label of “deliberate mocking Palestinians”.

The statement come after the advertising campaign featuring mannequins with missing limbs and statues wrapped in white was pulled from the front page of its website and app on Monday.

Inditex, which owns Zara, initially said the change was part of its normal procedure of refreshing content, but did not comment on the boycott calls.

It noted that the “Atelier” collection was conceived in July and the photos were taken in September, well before the beginning of the conflict between Israel and Hamas on Oct. 7.

It added that the campaign, named “The Jacket”, was meant to show unfinished sculptures in a sculptor’s studio.

Zara’s announcement illustrates the challenge for global brands navigating the sensitivities around the Gaza war. Zara is the first major Western brand to take such a drastic step after criticism for what some saw as insensitive advertising.

“Unfortunately, some customers felt offended by these images, which have now been removed, and saw in them something far from what was intended when they were created,” Zara said in an Instagram post.

The images were used “with the sole purpose of showcasing craftmade garments in an artistic context”, it added.

“Zara regrets that misunderstanding and we reaffirm our deep respect towards everyone,” Zara said.

Six posts showcasing the campaign were scrubbed from Zara’s Instagram page, and parent company Inditex said the photos had been pulled from all platforms.

The “Atelier” collection, of six jackets, is one of Zara’s most expensive, priced from $229 for a grey wool blazer with chunky knit sleeves, to $799 for a studded leather jacket. The jackets were still for sale on Zara sites.

Inditex is due to report results for the first nine months of its fiscal year on Wednesday, with analysts expecting sales growth to slow slightly in the third quarter due to an unusually warm October in Europe.

With Reuters

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