Known for their preppy iconic American style, Hollister gained popularity in not just the U.S. but all over the world. Recently, Hollister began branching out to locations in other countries, including one in Yeouido, South Korea.
Hollister sent some of their models on a promotional tour to celebrate the store grand opening where there were a number of incidents that shed negative light on Hollister as a brand and the models representing the company.
Royal Gueongbokkung Palace, a popular tourist attraction, has visitors from people all over the world and locals alike. The brand ambassador for Hollister posed for photos in front of the Royal Gueongbokkung Palace wearing a “Hollister Surf Guard” t-shirt with mock racist slanty eyes. After posting the photo on Twitter, a commenter posted, “Please look at how many Asians liked that picture,” the model posted, “Hahahaha they ruhhvvvvittt!”
Another incident involved a Hollister model at the store opening with locals and making obscene gestures to the camera. A popular Korean blog, KoreaBang, stated the offensive accounts and many users were quoted as saying, “I’ve got to go and return the clothes that I bought.”
Twitter and KoreaBang are not the only social media sites that have received harsh comments from the public. Hollister’s Facebook page includes comments from users stating, “Stupid racists shame on you. I’m done with Hollister,” and “You make me ashamed to be part of the American culture. How can you not screen your employees on cultural awareness.”
Hollister released a statement via Yahoo! Shine stating that the models responsible for the offensive acts have been fired and, “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.”
Although Hollister was quick to release a public statement to diminish the damage to their brand, it is yet to be seen if the damage has already been done.