When you think Lilly Pulitzer, you probably have an image of cute floral patterns and colorful accessories rather than fat-shaming cartoons. However, when The Cut took a tour of their offices, they were particularly shocked to find the latter.
The tour itself was posted on Tuesday as a slideshow on The Cut’s website, and while most of it consists of staff members and pictures of colorful accoutrements, there’s one picture of neither that’s getting the most attention.
It’s a picture that was taken of an unnamed employee’s office space that features two blatant fat-shaming cartoons pinned to the wall. One is of a sad-looking, round woman with the phrase “Put it down CARB FACE,” next to her. The other is of a similarly curvy woman under the heading “Just another day of fat, white, and hideous,” with “you should probably just kill yourself” written in small letters underneath. This is definitely not what anyone hopes see on the walls of a designer’s office, especially with all the body positivity issues in fashion today.
— Caroline Moss (@socarolinesays) May 26, 2015
Needless to say, since the slideshow was released, people of both the fashion community and everyday Pulitzer fans alike have been up in arms over it. Here’s a sampling of tweets that sum up the outrage folks are feeling over the offensive images.
— Andrea (@nonsequiteuse) May 26, 2015
— Carly Kocurek (@sparklebliss) May 26, 2015
Jane Schoenborn, Vice President of Creative Communications, responded to the backlash via email to the Huffington post. In it, she stated, “These illustrations were the work of one individual and were posted in her personal work area. While we are an employer that does encourage people to decorate their own space, we are a female-dominated company and these images do not reflect our values. We apologize for any harm this may have caused.” Ms. Shoenborn’s response is perfectly appropriate, but it may not be enough to quell the upset these images have sparked.
While they may only be one employee’s bizarre form of thinspiration, it still reflects poorly on the entire company, especially since they allowed the cartoons to remain on the wall during a photo shoot. If Pulitzer plans to move forward into the world of plus-size fashion, it better rectify this situation with a body positivity campaign fast.
Putting such negative images on the wall at work, even if they’re meant to be funny, subtly influences everyone who sees them. And an office that doesn’t see anything wrong with that is not a healthy workspace in the first place.