Zara pulls ‘gluten free’ graphic shirt amid outrage it trivializes disease

zaraZara is discovering that gluten-free community isn’t full of laughs.

The fashion brand has pulled a T-shirt from shelves that read “Are you gluten free?,” a misfired joke intended to mock the diet fad. Yet, some people felt the shirt was offensive because cutting out the ingredient is a life-saving necessity for those with celiac disease.

The shirt sparked an outrage online, prompting a petition that collected 53,000 signatures.

“The message of this shirt trivializes an important health problem,” it says, asking Zara to not only stop selling the shirt, but to apologize and commit to “not trivializing” the disease.

To Zara’s credit, it listened.

“We sincerely regret that this case can be interpreted as a trivialization of coeliac problem completely opposite intention of Inditex,” its parent company said in a statement, adding that it has pulled the shirt from stores.

It’s the latest t-shirt faux pas that’s struck a fast fashion chain. Last week, Forever 21 apologized for selling a shirt that made light of rape.

More in Marketing

How esports company Blast is claiming it’s officially profitable

Blast’s expansion is an encouraging sign for the broader competitive gaming industry, particularly given the ongoing “esports winter.”

As CMA’s Privacy Sandbox Probe gathers momentum, here’s what marketers must know

Today is D-Day for marketers to voice their take on Google’s alternative to third-party cookies for the U.K.’s Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA).

Marketing Briefing: As M&A rebounds, ‘it all hinges upon the CMO having a seat at the table’

As C-Suites look for growth through M&A, questions emerge for marketers at those companies: What happens to the brands?