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Retailer ASOS in trouble after featuring ‘Slave’ T-shirt on a black model

A fashion label was left red-faced yesterday after making a mistake its spokesman admitted was “extremely stupid.”

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The offending item was a Wasted Heroes T-shirt on the Marketplace section of the ASOS website which had the word “Slave” on it and was modelled by a black man.

As word spread on Twitter, many vented their anger, including @kerritweetz who tweeted: “Y’all are racist @ASOS @ASOS_HeretoHelp You really labelled a black man as a slave?”

@RaedKhan_ tweeted: “Not sure what I’m more shocked by. ASOS promoting a clothing line called ‘Slave’ or the black male that was happy to model it..?!”

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The ASOS Marketplace is an unregulated section of the site selling clothes from vintage stockists and independent designers, such as Wasted Heroes.

While the T-shirt was swiftly removed from the site and the ASOS customer service team tried to placate furious customers, Liverpool-based Wasted Heroes was quick to apologise.

A spokesman tweeted that the garment “wasn’t meant to cause any offence” and “was about being a slave to a label,” adding that “it really was extremely stupid of us.”

However the T-shirt is only one of a collection featuring the word “slave” alongside logos in the style of global brands such as Disney, Burberry, Nike and Burger King.

ASOS in trouble for selling 'Slave' T-shirt
Image: Wasted Heroes
ASOS in trouble after selling 'Slave' T-shirt
Image: Wasted Heroes

None of the range has been removed from the Wasted Heroes website, which begs the question: what exactly do they think was “extremely stupid?” Creating a T-shirt collection around the word “slave” or selling it on ASOS where there is a far greater chance of it triggering a public outcry?

An ASOS spokesperson told MailOnline: “Marketplace is a collection of independent sellers who must agree to our terms and conditions when they join. Whenever we find a product that violates our policies we remove it immediately. There is also a ‘report this item’ link under every product picture.”

Was the reaction to this T-shirt justified or not? Let us know your thoughts below.

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