American mall staple Hollister issued a mea culpa after the male models it sent to a store opening in South Korea inflamed locals with racist tweets.
The brand, owned by Abercrombie & Fitch and known for being a devotee of skimpy styles, usually sends scantily clad models to pose with customers at new store launches.
But the four models it sent to Yeouido, Seoul, earlier this month did more than prettify the storefront. During their stint from Aug. 30 to Sept. 2, they tweeted photos of themselves making squinty eyes, mocking their Asian fans’ accents and engaging in other offensive behavior such as flipping off the camera.
One tweet stated: "Hahahaha they ruhhvvvv itttt!"
Hollister fired the models, but not before Korean customers ignited a social media firestorm of rage, threatening to boycott the chain and return goods bought there.
“Congratulations – you just [angered] a potential market of 50 million people,” wrote Facebook user Kelvin Tan. “Plus the rest of Asia.”
“You make me ashamed to be part of the American culture,” wrote user Suzy Danielle De Loa on Hollister’s Facebook page. “How can you not screen your employees on cultural awareness.”
“I’m done with Hollister,” wrote user Mir Key.
“On behalf of our more than 80,000 associates around the world who cherish our core values and our culture of diversity and inclusion, we sincerely apologize for the offense caused by these unauthorized, ill-considered actions,” Hollister wrote in its apology.
The chain features clothing inspired by Southern California.