Zara pulls campaign from website amid boycott calls after brand accused of 'mocking' Gaza victims

11 December 2023, 21:01 | Updated: 11 December 2023, 21:02

Puerto Venecia, well-recognized shopping center based out of the city of Zaragoza, Spain.
Puerto Venecia, well-recognized shopping center based out of the city of Zaragoza, Spain. Picture: Alamy

By Christian Oliver

Highstreet fashion brand Zara has pulled its advertising campaign featuring mannequins with missing limbs, surrounded by rubble, and enclosed in boxes - after being accused of 'mocking' Gaza victims.

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The campaign showed a mannequin wrapped in white, some are missing limbs, and another bust lies on the floor. Critics claim the imagery depicts dead bodies wrapped in shrouds in Gaza.

The imagery was featured on the clothing brand's website and app. Some of the images have now been removed from the brand's social media.

Zara's owner, Inditex, said the changes to its website and app were part of its normal procedure for renewing content and did not comment on calls by pro-Palestine campaigners to boycott the brand.

The company said the 'Atelier" collection was formed in July and the photos for the campaign were taken in September - a month before war broke out between Isreal and militant group Hamas on October 7.

Thousands of commenters took issue with the photos, leading "Boycott Zara" to trend across social media.

Read More: Fighting goes in Gaza’s largest cities amid fears of mass displacement of people

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The brand, which launched the collection on December 7, said the campaign was inspired by men's tailoring from previous centuries.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) earlier said it had received 50 complaints about the campaign.

According to the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza, Israel has killed some 18,000 people since the outbreak of the conflict.

It comes after Marks & Spencer last month apologised after an Instagram post showing burning Christmas hats was compared to the Palestinian flag.

The image, an outtake from its Christmas advert, was posted on the official M&S Instagram account.

It showed red, sliver and green paper hats being thrown into a fireplace, with the caption: “This Christmas, do what you love... like saying no to paper hats.”

Social media users compared the colour of the hats to those on the Palestinian Flag, and questioned the timing of the post given the violent conflict in Israel and Gaza.

M&S said in a statement posted to X, formerly Twitter, on Wednesday: "Today we shared an outtake image from our Christmas Clothing and Home advert, which was recorded in August.

"It showed traditional, festive coloured red, green and silver Christmas paper party hats in a fire grate.

"While the intent was to playfully show that some people just don't enjoy wearing paper Christmas hats over the festive season, we have removed the post following feedback and we apologise for any unintentional hurt caused."

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