Fashion e-commerce retailer Shein is once again under fire for offering a swastika pendant as part of its merchandise . The retail site was slammed on Thursday last week, after the piece went viral on social media and gained a lot of ire from various audiences.
The said pendant was selling for US$2.50 (£2.00) and was advertised as a "metal pendant necklace" in the site's line of jewellery and accessory offerings.
In a statement they emailed to the New York Post, Shein insists that the necklace was not representative of the Nazi swastika, but that of a "Buddhist swastika which has symbolised spirituality and good fortune."
The company's representative explains, "For the record, Shein was not selling a Nazi swastika pendant, the necklace is a Buddhist swastika which has symbolized spirituality and good fortune for more than a thousand years. The Nazi swastika has a different design, it is pointed clockwise and tilted at an angle. However, because we understand the two symbols can be confused and one is highly offensive, we have removed the product from our site."
Although the said Buddhist and Hindu swastikas do mean "well-being" in Sanskrit, the Nazis took the symbol and turned it into a hooked cross and brought with it a whole new meaning of hate. To many who are not aware of the other forms of swastikas in different cultures, this can be quite confusing to the untrained eye.
"We want to apologise profusely to those who are offended, we are sensitive to these issues and want to be very clear that we in no way support or condone racial, cultural and religious prejudice or hostility," Shein said.
The company has ceased the sale of the pendant and has taken it down from its site. Their Instagram posts now show their attempts to rectify and explain the issue saying, "We're Sorry!" As it is, this is not the first time Shein has received uproar from it's supposedly "trendy" merchandise. Just recently, they also offered "decorative rugs" and advertised them as Greek carpets, but they closely resembled Islamic prayer mats.
Shein currently has its headquarters in China and pumps out about 500 new products each day. The retail site is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau and has received numerous complaints and formal charges on copyright infringement on its designs.