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Pottery Barn apologizes, withdraws Asian Halloween costumes

kimonoBy Anh Do

Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES — Pottery Barn apologized for selling a Halloween costume of a sushi chef and a kimono that an Asian civil rights group had complained were culturally offensive.

The retailer confirmed late Monday that the items had been removed from its website.

“We did not intend to offend anyone with our Halloween costumes and we apologize,” said Leigh Oshirak, vice president of public relations and marketing for Williams-Sonoma, parent company of Pottery Barn. “Thank you for bringing this to our attention.”

Asian civil rights activists spoke out after the store began selling the products, a kimono and a sushi chef outfit featuring the Rising Sun of the Japanese flag. The group demanded “immediate removal” of the clothing and requested an apology.

“Our problem is not with the attire itself; it is with the fact that Pottery Barn is marketing these outfits as costumes,” wrote Ling Woo Liu, director of strategic communications for Asian Americans Advancing Justice.

She cited a student-led campaign launched at Ohio University several years ago, using the mantra “We’re a culture, not a costume,” and urging youths to think deeper when it comes to Halloween clothing.

The poster campaign sprung up on other campuses and includes phrases such as “You wear the costume for one night. I wear the stigma for life.”

She called Pottery Barn’s apology via email to The Times “very passive.

“It would help to show they have learned a lesson,” she said.

“Like other minorities, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are real people who cannot and should not be commodified as Halloween costumes,” Liu said.

Filed in: News

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  • m5678

    You wanna bitch? Then please dont allow people to cross dress for halloween, I take my feminity personally. Dont let people dress as animls, sexy kittens live their culture every day. Dont let people sell military or police costumes, its not a costume its a serious position. I would never have pulled that costume.

  • joe

    Libtarts once again prove they have no life so they gripe about oriential costumes, what a joke, like the PETA tards that cried when Obama swatted a fly. The kooks will be running the nut house sooon.

  • Joe

    This explains why they dropped bombs on Pearl Harbor on a Sunday Morning when everyone was sleeping; they’re angry that we’re “insensitive” and dress up like them during Halloween. If we could be as sensitive to other peopl as they were.

  • rusty

    I'm half Korean and I dressed my son and daughter up as a Samurai and a Geisha because they wanted too. Should we all turn ourselves in for hate crimes now. This is an idiotic situation started by a small bunch of idiots.