Forever 21 is in hot water after using a white model to sell a “Black Panther” sweater.
On Tuesday, the fast fashion brand uploaded a Twitter photo of a blond, blue-eyed male model sporting a knit sweater inscribed with the “Black Panther” slogan “Wakanda Forever,” along with a link to their website.
The post quickly sparked an online debate about whether this was an example of cultural appropriation or inclusivity.
“In what universe did you think it was ok to feature a white model in Wakanda gear?” one user wrote on Twitter. “I’m highly offended.”
But others came to the brand’s defense.
“Why can’t someone white be showcased wearing that? Black panther is a marvel character created for any and everyone to enjoy,” tweeted another user.
Forever 21 ended up taking down the tweet Tuesday evening, and has since apologized.
“Forever 21 takes feedback on our products and marketing extremely seriously. We celebrate all superheroes with many different models of various ethnicities and apologize if the photo in question was offensive in any way,” a Forever 21 rep wrote in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.