By Kristy Leahy.
Melania Trump wore a fascist-themed jacket last month while visiting a detention center in Texas, where immigrant children have been separated from their parents. This isn’t the first time that Melania has made questionable choices, from plagiarizing Michelle Obama to her pink “pussy bow” blouse after Trump’s “grab them by the pussy” comments. However, we don’t need to study Melania Trump to understand the disconnect this administration has shown.
Let’s take a moment to take a closer look at the maker of the jacket, fast fashion retailer Zara. Zara has been in “trouble” many times for their racist and anti-Semitic clothing lines. We can start that examination with jewelry made of figurines in blackface, observe the lovely Holocaust themed children’s shirt, the purse with swastika embroidery, as well as the 2014 t-shirt saying, “White is the new black.”
Ian Jack Miller, the first and only corporate attorney for Zara’s U.S. and Canada business, filed a $40 million discrimination suit in New York’s Supreme Court in June 2015. He alleged he was fired because he’s Jewish, American, and gay. Miller says he was the only Jewish employee and had to keep his Jewishness a secret due to the anti-Semitism in the corporation. For example, the CEO of Zara’s American business, repeatedly described the retail chain’s Jewish landlords and Jewish real estate developers as “los judios” or “the Jews.” The CEO often complained of how difficult it was to work with, “those people.” Miller alleges that he received homophobic emails, and that anti-Semitic comments were made in his presence.
Also found in the suit are claims of racism. Zara’s top executives allegedly exchanged emails portraying Michelle Obama serving fried chicken. Other emails depict Barack Obama in myriad of images, including the former president in a Ku Klux Klan hood, with a Confederate flag, on a Cream of Wheat box, on an Aunt Jemima box, and shining shoes. The former Zara USA CEO continually displayed misogynistic behavior, including bragging about the size of his penis, having sexual relationships with multiple female subordinates, and sending pornographic images of genitalia.
The Zara store in New York faced racist conditions, according to a report by the Center for Popular Democracy. For example, the code word “special order” was used to identify suspicious customers, and black customers were seven times more likely to be tagged as potential shoplifters than other customers. Of course, this racism didn’t confine itself to customers. The survey found that employees of color perceived widespread discrimination at the company.
If all of this wasn’t enough…in 2017 unpaid workers in Turkey attached pleas for help into clothing sold by retailer Zara, describing their lack of pay. The work conditions were horrific. For context, Inditex (Zara’s parent company) is the largest fashion retailer in the world by sales, with 7,292 stores around the globe.
This company is a racist, anti-Semitic, fascist capitalist vulture. While there is no ethical consumption under capitalism, I’d like to spread awareness of this company and it’s horrific history.