The company behind Lena Dunham's ill-fated sweatshirt collaboration is apologizing after the "Girls" creator complained that her message of acceptance got turned into one of fat-shaming. In a controversial move, thin, white women modeled the shirt which bore the slogan "BEING FAT IS NOT BEAUTIFUL IT’S AN EXCUSE."
The star, writer and producer of HBO's "Girls" said the controversial piece is a part of a line of clothing she has been working on for months to "highlight quotes from prominent women who have experienced internet trolling & abuse." The sweatshirt making its way around the internet features a quote directed at plus-size model Paloma Elsesser.
In a lengthy Instagram post on Wednesday, she explained that Revolve had mistakenly released images of the sweatshirt early on "thin white women" without her knowledge, ruining the intended purpose of acceptance and showcasing the "lack of diversity in representation."
"As a result, I cannot support this collaboration or lend my name to it in any way," said Dunham, who has struggled with her own weight. "I am deeply disappointed in @revolve’s handling of a sensitive topic and a collaboration rooted in reclaiming the words of internet trolls to celebrate the beauty in diversity and bodies and experiences that aren’t the industry norm."
Revolve, a Los Angeles-based fashion retailer, apologized for the misstep Thursday night, sharing a screenshot of a statement to its Instagram account.
"We messed up big," the brand said in its statement. "We are SO SORRY for hurting and offending you."
"The intention was not to promote or endorse these hateful words, but instead to empower all women by making them understand that even the world's most beautiful and successful women have been subject to hateful message from internet bullies," it continued."
"And through a horrible oversight on our part, the hateful comment shaming Paloma for her weight was not shot on an appropriate model, and we are horrified and incredibly sorry that we made this mistake," the company said. Revolve also pledged $20,000 to Girls Write Now, the organization Revolve intended to aid with this campaign, which has made it its mission to help "underserved young women to find their voices through the power of writing and community."
"As soon as we realized that we had done, we pulled the product and canceled the line," Revolve said, "before a single style was sold.
But it was already too late. Despite Durham's explanation of the piece and the intention of showing how harmful bullying can be, the project's message seems to have been lost on social media users.
Body-positive model Tess Holliday shared a screenshot of the gray casualwear to her 81K Twitter followers: "@REVOLVE ya'll are a mess." (The online retailer has since taken down the listing. down)
One Twitter user said: "Lemme guess! This shirt was designed to 'encourage' people to lose weight but not make fun of them. BS! Can’t wait for the excuses!"
Another user said labeling anyone's body type is "disgusting."
One Twitter user said there is "no need for excuses" when it comes to your authentic self.