People power, in the shape of social media pressure and online petitions, has never been more visible. But does it sometimes go too far?
High street fashion chain Zara has been forced to withdraw a T-shirt that featured the slogan “Are you gluten free?” after more than 50,000 signed an online petition in protest.
The petition’s starter, Marta Casadeius, contends that the T-shirt’s slogan is offensive to sufferers of coeliac disease. Within days of the petition being posted on campaigns site Change.org, it had garnered over 53,000 signatures.
“The truth is that I just wanted Zara to reflect on the message, I was trying to explain that perhaps it wasn’t the best way to make people aware of the illness,” Marta explained to The Local.
After Zara withdrew the T-shirt from sale, an apologetic statement from the high-street fashion chain’s Spanish Press Office set out the store’s position. “The T-shirt mentioned in this petition was pulled from our online store a few weeks ago now and we are currently confirming that it is not for sale in our stores either,” it read.
“We sincerely regret that this case might be interpreted as a trivialisation of coeliac disease, the absolute opposite of our intentions.”
The petition is just one of 90 campaigns about this one issue currently live on Change.org. Others include ‘Disney Channel: Stop bullying gluten-intolerant characters’ and ‘Please Make Real Gluten Free Oreos’.
What do you think? Was this T-shirt likely to offend people who suffer from gluten intolerance? Or is it a case of people power gone too far? Let us know in the Comments section below.