A boutique in Toronto is apologizing after their Black Friday ad appropriated the Black Lives Matter movement.
The Serpentine, a boutique located in Yorkville, posted a black and white photo on Instagram showing a rally of people at what appears to be a civil rights protest with the hashtag #BlackFridaysMatter written in red over the image.
— AM640 (@am640) November 23, 2016
"All Sales Can't Matter Until Black Friday Sales Matter," a promotional email from the store read, according to VICE.
The image on Instagram, which was originally posted three times in a row, has been deleted.
Many users commented on the photo expressing their disgust for the ad, which insensitively used a movement, created as a "call to action and a response to the virulent anti-Black racism that permeates our society," to sell clothes.
This was the Serpentine's apology. This is not how you do it. pic.twitter.com/bqRi8ICGRV
— Eric Kim (@inkskratch) November 24, 2016
Hashim Yussuf, a member of Black Lives Matter Toronto’s steering committee, told Global News that Black Lives Matter is no "joking matter."
"Our movement is not something to be made fun of. This is a matter of life and death for many people. This is a matter of basic human rights,” he said. "They were using our struggle and our movement to sell clothes on Black Friday. It’s just very, very disgusting. It’s very sad to see."
On Wednesday the store posted an apology (of sorts) saying the ad was a mere "play on words not meant to disrespect anyone or any group."
"We at the Serpentine wanted to take this opportunity to apologize for the confusion and frustration people are feeling regarding our Black Friday post," the image read. "The post was was [sic] purely intended to reference the droves of people that shop for deals this coming Friday."
"We have customers of all races, religions, and orientations. Serpentine is a multicultural boutique from its staff, all the way down to its brands from around the globe," the statement concluded.
@theserpentine "Black Friday Matters" sale...?
ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!
Using a social movement to peddle your wares? Disgusting.
— Kevin Brackley (@kjbrackley) November 23, 2016
The statement comes after The Serpentine wrote in the comment section of their original photo that it was "unfortunate" most of the people responding to the post have never been into their boutique.
"They know nothing about the brands, the culture or the owners. For starters one of the owners and creative director is black," the comment read according to CTV News. "The colour palette of our product assortment is dark in nature and predominantly black."
"This post is consistent with previous campaigns that are always 'play on words' about different topics. It’s quite terrifying that people always have to find the worst angle on everything. If SNL (Saturday Night Live) or stand up [sic] comics poke fun at something or use satire, it’s cool and raved about … but we guess if you are just trying to speak to the fact that people mob stores on Black Friday for deals you’re an a--hole."
Last year online retailer SuperGurl was slammed for using the phrase “rape us now” to promote their Black Friday sales.
— i-D (@i_D) December 3, 2015
"I hereby acknowledge that we have made a mistake, and that our caption does not advocate the right values to the young women community today," Jordus Lim, the brand's creative director, said in a statement.
Sorry The Serpentine, but using a movement whose goal is to work towards equality, freedom and justice for black people to sell clothes is not OK.