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France

Spanish brand apologises for 'slave style' bracelets

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-03-04

The Spanish clothing brand “Mango” has apologised on its French web site for selling jewelry advertised as “slave style” due to a translation error. French anti-racism associations are not amused.

After Adidas scrapped new 'shackle' sneakers accused of evoking images of slavery over the summer, Spanish clothing brand Mango is now under fire for selling jewelry labeled “slave style” on its French web site.

The problem, according to Mango, is one of language translation: the word “esclava”, which means “bracelet” or “bangle” in Spanish, was translated on the French site into “esclave”, which means “slave” in French.

Consequently, several bracelets -- and even a necklace -- were sold on the French site under the name “slave style”.

On Mango’s English website, the items are referred to as “woven bracelets”.

French racism watchdogs react

French anti-racism associations issued strongly worded reactions on Monday, calling for the items to be immediately removed from the sites.

“This is either a display of ignorance, or a perverse gesture reducing what has been recognised as a crime against humanity in France since 2001 to a style or fashion,” a statement from French racism watchdog SOS Racism read.

Another French racism watchdog, Cran, which collects data on blacks in France, also released a statement, expressing its “indignation at these items of jewelry, which aim to give an elegant colonialist vision of a phenomenon that caused the misery of tens of millions of humans for almost four centuries”.

Meanwhile, a website called Change.org published a petition launched by former Miss France Sonia Rolande, actress Aissa Maiga, and activist Rokhaya Diallo, all French black women.

“These chain bracelets are supposed to make slavery an object of fantasy and fashion,” reads the Change.org petition, which is titled “Slavery Is Not Fashion”.

The brand apologised on Monday via its Twitter account, pointing to a translation error to explain the use of the term “slave”.

“Mango, in no case, wanted to offend anyone and has made the appropriate changes on all platforms,” the brand said in a statement.
 

Date created : 2013-03-04

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