Turkish clothing chain LC Waikiki slammed for withdrawing items featuring Arabic text
The clothing, which appears to be a children’s T-shirt featuring the cartoon character Mickey Mouse with the sentence "it’s time to play" in Arabic, drew the ire of Turkish social media users for featuring text in the language.
The T-shirt was sold on the chain’s online website, but has since been removed. The chain has also withdrawn any other items that feature Arabic text on it, according to The New Arab’s Arabic-language service.
Enough is enough !! We are buying your goods with our money ! And now you are apologizing for arabic words on A— Dr.Mohamed Rahmani د. محمد رحماني (@ph_mrahmani) July 3, 2022
A T-shirts are you nuts ? Millions of dollars you got from Arabs every year say bye bye to that !! #lcwaikiki قاطعوا pic.twitter.com/LNqkuwYFD4
In a statement, the brand said: "Hello, we, LC Waikiki, operate in 56 countries. We offer products suitable for the languages and cultures of countries for sale in those countries. We have decided that this product, which was produced abroad, was also put for sale in Turkey due to a systematic error. We have removed it from sale".
Social media users slammed the clothing item’s withdrawal, accusing the fashion chain of "supporting racism".
Some pointed out that the Turkish language itself contains thousands of words which originate from Arabic, while others called out the chain’s hypocrisy for displaying items bearing English-language text, which did not provoke the same xenophobic reaction as the ones displaying Arabic.
Some social media users said that they will "boycott the brand".
In response to the racist discourse of some Turks against publishing a children's sweater with Arabic written on it in an online store. LC Waikiki has withdrawn the product from the Turkish market with an apology!!!!— Hussam Hammoud (@HussamHamoud) July 3, 2022
Bravo for supporting racism, guys! 👏 pic.twitter.com/K7quyR7d0z
The brand’s withdrawal of the T-shirt comes amid a surge in racism and racist attacks against Arabs in Turkey - particularly Syrian refugees. A number of Syrian refugees have been physically attacked and even killed in recent months.
Many Turkish politicians have used Syrians as a scapegoat for Turkey’s economic problems, amid a dramatic rise in inflation and living costs.
Turkey has also been arbitrarily deporting Syrians back to Syria in their hundreds despite the continued conflict in the country.
LC Waikiki has branches in 14 countries in the Arabi world, as well as in a number of African and eastern European countries.