Clothing retailer Zara pulled an advertising campaign and issued a statement of regret after some likened the campaign to the destruction in Gaza amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.
While the images have since been taken down, purported screenshots on social media of the campaign, called “The Jacket,” showed mannequins wrapped in plastic, broken plaster and rubble. In one photo, a model was pictured holding one of the figures wrapped in white, which some likened to a corpse, CNN reported.
In a statement shared Tuesday, Zara explained that the campaign was created in July and photographed in September, which would have fallen before the militant group Hamas’s surprise assault on Israel on Oct. 7 that sparked the ongoing conflict in Gaza.
“[The campaign] presents a series of images of unfinished sculptures in a sculptor’s studio and was created with the sole purpose of showcasing craftmade garments in an artistic context,” the statement said.
The retailer said some customers “felt offended” and “saw in them something far from what was intended when they were created.” The images have since been removed, Zara confirmed.
“Zara regrets that misunderstanding and we reaffirm our deep respect toward everyone,” the statement said.
Several social media videos have circulated under the hashtag #BoycottZara, where users are posting videos and photos from apparent protests at several Zara locations. In one apparent protest, several demonstrators gathered outside of a storefront with tape over their moths, holding what appears to be fake babies wrapped in cloth.
Several media outlets reported the United Kingdom’s Advertising Standards Authority, an advertisement regulatory organization, confirmed it received complaints about the ad. The Hill reached out to the organization for confirmation.
The controversy marks the latest example of tensions spilling over from Israel’s war with Hamas, which has killed thousands of people on both sides. An estimated 1,200 people died in Israel as part of Hamas’s initial attack, prompting Israel to launch a massive campaign to destroy Hamas, which controls Gaza, and its military capabilities.
More than 18,000 people in Gaza have been killed in the violence, according to the Health Ministry in Gaza. More than 80 percent of Gaza’s civilian population — about 2.3 million people — have been forced to flee their homes, The Associated Press reported.