Madrid, Spain – December 12, 2023
Zara, the renowned fashion company, has taken swift action by pulling a contentious advertising campaign from its website following calls for a boycott from pro-Palestine activists. The campaign, featuring mannequins with missing limbs and statues draped in white shrouds, drew criticism for its alleged resemblance to images from Israel’s assault on Gaza.
Inditex, the corporate parent of Zara, stated on Monday that the removal of the campaign was a part of their regular content update, and the photos were taken in September, predating the ongoing conflict between “Hamas and Israel.”
The controversial images sparked a surge of reactions on “Zara’s Instagram,” where “tens of thousands of comments,” many adorned with Palestinian flags, flooded the platform. The hashtag “BoycottZara” trended on messaging platform X, amplifying the protest against the fashion retailer.
Amid the ongoing crisis in Gaza, with authorities reporting over 18,000 casualties, primarily women and children, the timing of the ad’s removal has intensified the discourse surrounding corporate responsibility in times of geopolitical tension.
Zara has asserted that the advertising initiative, conceived in July and captured in September, took inspiration from historical men’s tailoring. Despite this clarification, the company has refrained from issuing an official response to the boycott appeals.
This incident is not the first time Zara has faced backlash from supporters of Palestine. In 2022, videos surfaced of Palestinians burning Zara clothing, urging others to refrain from supporting the retail giant. The backlash was triggered after an owner of Zara outlets in Israel organized a promotional gathering for the “far-right Israeli politician Itamar Ben-Gvir.” Ben-Gvir defended Zara in a social media post, saying, “Zara, cool clothes, cool Israelis.”
Zara’s handling of the current ad controversy adds to the ongoing debate about the intersection of fashion, politics, and corporate accountability in a world that is increasingly sensitive to social and geopolitical issues.