High street clothing store Zara has been forced to apologise and pull a product from their shelves after the design was criticised and many claimed the striped children's t-shirt bore a resemblance to the uniforms Jewish prisoners were forced to wear when interred in concentration camps during the Holocaust.
The similarities are certainly striking with the design including horizontal blue and white stripes and, most unfortunately, a large gold six pointed star emblazoned with the word 'Sheriff'. The star is reminiscent of the yellow Star of David Jewish prisoners wore on their uniforms above their left breast.
Controversy would probably not have sparked had the designers at Zara kept to a more traditional Wild West pattern, perhaps a safe check, as stripes are hardly conventional. However, many were appalled by the design and, understandably, its associations.
The children's t-shirt was sold online and in Zara stores in a number of European countries, as NBC reports. However, a number of media outlets and commentators took notice, the pressure from social media on the Spanish company ensured the product was quickly taken off their shelves.
Zara responded to criticism via Twitter and sincerely apologised to one questioning journalist, Natalie Rothschild. The company wrote "We honestly apologize, it was inspired by the sheriff's stars from the Classic Western films and is no longer in our stores."
Zara have also issued an apology in Israel, which reads: "The item in question, part of the Cowboy Collection for babies, was inspired by the character of the sheriff in Wild West movies. The word 'Sheriff' is visible on the star at the front of the item. Nevertheless, we can understand the sensitive context and connotation that was created. The item does not exist in Israel and as soon as the issue became clear, it was decided the product will be removed from shelves across the world and exterminated. We sincerely apologize if, as a result, we have offended the feelings of our customers."