A new apology over a blackface controversy came Wednesday, not from Virginia's embattled governor, but from luxury fashion brand Gucci. The Italian company pulled a black balaclava-style sweater from its stores and website and apologized "for the offense caused," after social media users said the design resembled blackface. The $890 wool sweater, released in the first week of Black History Month, covered the bottom half of the face, with a cutout lined in thick red for the mouth, per NBC News. "What racist at Gucci thought this was a good idea?" reads a typical response tweet. "Come to be offended by the racism, stay to be offended by the price," adds Forward columnist Molly Jong-Fast.
"One day I am going to deliver a prolific dissertation on how it feels to live in a continuous cycle of disrespect as a black man," user Michael Bonner notes, per CNN. "This is unacceptable." While some wonder whether ski masks will be outlawed next, others say the fact that Gucci even created the sweater showed a lack of diversity within the company. "We are fully committed to increasing diversity throughout our organization and turning this incident into a powerful learning moment," the company says. (Fashion label Prada recently took flak for images resembling blackface.)