Employees at athletics brand Lululemon say they felt compelled to create an All Lives Matter campaign after George Floyd’s death, which would be posted on his website, according to a Business Insider report.
The phrase “All Lives Matter” has been adopted by some on the right and is widely recognized as downplaying the significance of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement.
During the creation of the campaign, an anonymous business director, who had not been involved in the early stages of the project, told a number of Lululemon employees: “We are not writing Black Lives Matter. . This is not where we are. The director demanded that the group working on the campaign use a new “approved copy”. Towards the beginning of the proposed text, the phrase “all lives matter” appeared in capital letters.
Business Insider also reports that employees pushed back, but were told they had to move forward with approved language. They created two mockups, one with All Lives Matter and another with Black Lives Matter. As Black Lives Matter was ultimately selected, an anonymous employee told the publication he felt “triggered and traumatized” by the incident, and said it was “one of the most disgusting moments” of his time in the company. They said, “After all these black employees, all these people of color, said we couldn’t go ahead with this and please don’t make us do a mockup for you – and she said we have to do it – it was a very traumatic experience. The manager later apologized to 200 company members for the incident on a conference call, although many of those who participated in the call were unaware of the events discussed. . The director then left Lululemon.
After the BLM protests in May 2020, the brand posted a supportive message on Instagram, which read, “It matters. So we express ourselves. We are not always right. Over the years this has made us wonder if we have the right to speak. And we are privileged to have a voice and a platform. So… know that we are not indifferent. Far from there. We are passionate about every valued human being. He added that he was donating $ 100,000 (£ 73,000) to the Minnesota Freedom Fund, a nonprofit surety fund.
Last year, Reuters reported that a senior global art director at the company, Trevor Fleming, shared a link to a t-shirt design featuring a slogan many considered anti-Asian. Designed by an artist named Jess Sluder, the t-shirt featured a Chinese takeout box with bat wings and the tagline “Bat Fried Rice”. It was on its online store before it was deleted. On Instagram, Sluder posted the t-shirt with the caption: “Where did the Covid-19 come from? Nothing is certain, but we do know that a bat was involved. From today, my limited edition #quarantees are now available. Link in bio or DM for more details… Thank you for your support and your sense of humor! #humornothat #batfriedrice.
Lululemon issued a statement confirming that the shirt was not part of their designs and that “the person involved is no longer an employee of Lululemon”. Fleming said at the time: “This is something I deeply regret, and my eyes were opened to the profound ripple effect that this mistake had.” The Guardian asked Sluder for comment.
Responding to All Lives Matter’s allegations in the Business Insider article, Stacia Jones, Vice President and Head of Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Action at Lululemon, said, “We are proud of the progress we are making in becoming more diverse, inclusive and equitable in all aspects of the employee experience, from recruiting and hiring to leadership and development. We recognize that our history of diversity and inclusion is not perfect, but we are a different company today. We hold each other accountable for embodying our value of inclusion and creating an ongoing dialogue with our employees and our collective.
The company is one of the largest sports brands in the United States, with 2020 revenue of $ 4.4 billion.