The city has launched a probe into Prada over a Soho store display that featured a line of accessories blasted as racist.
The NYC Commission on Human Rights is looking into reports that a Prada employee was retaliated against for complaining about the display of “Pradamalia” keychains and other trinkets — that included a character with black skin and oversized red lips, they announced in a release last week.
A horrified New Yorker, Chinyere Ezie, ripped the brand apart on Facebook last Thursday, saying the line of accessories featured “Sambo like imagery.”
“When I asked a Prada employee whether they knew they had plastered blackface imagery throughout their store, in a moment of surprising candor I was told that a black employee had previously complained about blackface at Prada, but he didn’t work there anymore,” Ezie wrote.
Assistant Commissioner of the NYC Commission on Human Rights Sapna V. Raj said in a statement it was “appalling” to see “this kind of blatantly racists [sic] displays and merchandise from Prada.”
“Black New Yorkers face discrimination and bias every day. To see racist Jim Crow-era imagery so patently on display at an international luxury retailer’s storefront is appalling and not tolerated in our city,” Raj said.
After outrage spread online, Prada released a statement Friday saying it was nixing the “characters in question” and the display in Soho was taken down.
The city ordered the Italian fashion house to provide NYC Human Rights Law training for all of its employees, executives and independent contractors.
By Tamar Lapin