Fast-fashion retailer Shein is once again facing backlash for one of its product listings. The site pulled an item labeled “swastika pendant necklace” from its website Thursday after being slammed on social media for promoting anti-Semitism with the notorious Nazi symbol.
Earlier on Thursday, @hereforthetea2, an Instagram page that highlights drama in online communities, shared a post featuring the necklace, which shows the “swastika” label and a clear image of the necklace on Shein’s website. Some screenshots of the listing indicate it was sold for $2.50, while others showed it listed for $4.
Popular influencer Nabela Noor also wrote on Instagram that she was “so disgusted by @sheinofficial’s sheer ignorance and blatant disrespect towards other cultures and religions.”
“I am contacting the Head of Brand today and bringing this to his attention,” she said.
Outrage quickly spread across Twitter and Instagram, with thousands of users expressing disgust with the company. While some argued that the symbol stems from religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism, the majority of commenters disapproved and pointed out that it is now largely associated with the Nazis, who adopted the ancient icon in the 1930s as an emblem of their fascist regime.
“This is ACTIVELY THREATENING to the Jewish community,” one user tweeted. “Do NOT let Shein get away with this.”
“STOP SHOPPING AT SHEIN,” another tweeted. “Not only do they use child labor and fast fashion, they are literally selling a SWASTIKA NECKLACE. Please speak up about this.”
Hundreds of users said they would no longer shop from Shein. Following the backlash, the company removed the necklace from its website.
A representative at Shein told The New York Post that the necklace was meant to be a “Buddhist swastika which has symbolized spirituality and good fortune.”
“For the record, Shein was not selling a Nazi swastika pendant, the necklace is a Buddhist swastika which has symbolized spirituality and good fortune for more than a thousand years,” the spokesperson told The Post. “The Nazi swastika has a different design, it is pointed clockwise and tilted at an angle. However, because we understand the two symbols can be confused and one is highly offensive, we have removed the product from our site.”
“We want to apologize profusely to those who are offended, we are sensitive to these issues and want to be very clear that we in no way support or condone racial, cultural and religious prejudice or hostility,” they added.
Shein did not immediately respond to CBS News’ request for comment.
Last week, Shein also came under fire for selling rugs resembling Muslim prayer mats with descriptions like “fringe trim carpet.” Some of the rugs featured illustrations of the Kaaba, one of Islam’s most sacred sites, and mosques.
Two days later, Shein removed the items and issued a public apology on its Instagram.
“To our community — we made a serious mistake recently by selling prayer mats as decorative rugs on our site. We understand this was a highly offensive oversight and are truly sorry,” the brand wrote. “Since it was brought to our attention, we immediately removed the products from our site and asked our vendor to stop selling to others.”
“We also formed a product review committee with staff from different cultures and religions so a mistake like this doesn’t happen again,” the site added. “As a global brand, we vow to do a much better job in educating ourselves on different cultures, religions, and traditions to ensure our diverse community is respected and honored. We offer our sincerest apology to all whom we have hurt and offered, and hope we can earn your forgiveness.”