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Are Zara's "Gluten-free" T-shirts Funny or Offensive?
Celiac.com 04/21/2016 - Spanish fashion brand Zara has been forced to pull a T-shirt from its stores after a petition argued that the slogan was offensive to people with celiac disease.
The shirt in question is a simple white T-shirt that sports the slogan "Are you gluten free?" in bold black letters. Zara pulled the shirt after a petition urging the removal appeared on the website change.org, and collected over 50,000 signatures in just under a week.
In a statement released on March 14th, Inditex, the biggest fashion company in the world, which owns Zara, announced it was pulling the T-shirt from its stores. "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," said the statement.
Zara's quick response came as a pleasant surprise to the petition's author. Marta Casadesús, who started the petition. Casadesús told reporters that she really "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." She said she was "really happy" with Zara's decision to remove the shirt.
This is not the first T-shirt controversy to befall the fashion giant. In 2014 Zara stirred up controversy by selling a striped children's T-shirt that many people said resembled the uniforms worn by prisoners in Nazi concentration camps.
The navy-and-white striped "sheriff shirt" featured horizontal stripes and a six-pointed gold star. Zara also removed that shirt from its stores after numerous complaints.
So, what do you think? Is it offensive to wear a T-shirt that asks "Are You Gluten Free?"
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Jefferson Adams is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. His poems, essays and photographs have appeared in Antioch Review, Blue Mesa Review, CALIBAN, Hayden's Ferry Review, Huffington Post, the Mississippi Review, and Slate among others.
He is a member of both the National Writers Union, the International Federation of Journalists, and covers San Francisco Health News for Examiner.com.View all articles by Jefferson Adams
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