A skirt with a frog design has been pulled by Zara after social media users felt it bore a resemblance to the popular cartoon symbol of the “alt-right”, Pepe the frog.
Rage against the frog:
The jeans skirt was a part of Zara’s “festival edition”. It was embroidered with frogs wearing glasses, which Twitter users were quick to point out the similarities between them and Pepe.
My immediate thought was holy sh*t, they have no idea what they are doing here, do they?” said writer Meagan Fredette to Dazed after she saw the skirt.
On the company’s website, the link that used to link to the skirt now redirects the user to the home page.
According to a Zara spokesperson, the skirt doesn’t have any links to the Pepe the frog meme or the “alt-right” in any way.
The spokesperson said: “The skirt is part of the limited Oil-On-Denim collection which was created through collaborations with artists and is only available in selected markets.”
“The designer of the skirt is Mario de Santiago, known online as Yimeisgreat. Mario explores social interactions through his work and in his own words: ‘The idea came from a wall painting I drew with friends four years ago.’
“There is absolutely no link to the suggested theme.”
Cartoonist Matt Furie is the original creator of Pepe the Frog. He originally thought of the cartoon character as “chill” and “good-natured”. But during the campaign prior to the American elections, the chill frog became a symbol of white supremacists and the star of weird memes, which the Anti-Defamation League strongly denounced.
In an effort to get his creation back, Furie teamed up with the ADL. “It’s the worst-case scenario for any artist,” Furie said. “To lose control of their work and eventually have it labelled like a swastika or a burning cross.”
A history of bad designs:
Zara has gotten in trouble before for clothes designs that weren’t well thought out. A children’s striped shirt with a yellow star caused an uproar in 2014 after people stated it liked like clothes worn by Holocaust victims.
While in 2007, the company had to pull a handbag after customers realized the embroidery looked like green swastikas.