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Prada pulls products amid accusations of blackface imagery

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Prada says it will pull an animal charm and related products from its line after criticism that the trinket used imagery reminiscent of blackface.

Chinyere Ezie, a staff attorney for the Center for Constitutional Rights, according to its website, called attention to the design in a Facebook post Thursday, which as of early Friday afternoon had been shared more than 6,700 times.

“I don’t make a lot of public posts, but right now I’m shaking with anger,” Ezie wrote. “Today after returning to NYC after a very emotional visit to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture including an exhibit on blackface, I walked past Prada’s Soho storefront only to be confronted with the very same racist and denigrating #blackface imagery.”

Ezie included images of Otto from the Pradamalia collection. The creature is on charms that adorned bags, cardholders, phone cases, key chains, necklaces, T-shirts and other items as shown on Prada’s website. Items were available for men and women.

On Friday, Prada announced the Otto merchandise would be pulled.

“#Prada Group abhors racist imagery,” the luxury brand tweeted Friday. “The Pradamalia are fantasy charms composed of elements of the Prada oeuvre. They are imaginary creatures not intended to have any reference to the real world and certainly not blackface.”

The label continued in a follow-up tweet: “#Prada Group never had the intention of offending anyone and we abhor all forms of racism and racist imagery. In this interest we will withdraw the characters in question from display and circulation.”

Ezie encouraged people to use “#StopBlackface #BoycottPrada #EndRacismNow” and share her post. People on Twitter called the brand out.

“@Prada How’s it going with the racism over there? Feeling good?” a user asked. “You’re setting the bar for offensive storefronts. #BoycottPrada apologies are not enough”

“So, help me understand this @Prada, did you REALLY think this was okay?” a person shared. “This is disgusting and ALL the merchandise should be pulled IMMEDIATELY!”

“Have you all lost your minds?” a fuming user asked. “Are you all that ignorant of the blatant racist display in your store right now?!”

“@prada I can’t wear your products anymore,” remarked another. “Everything Prada I owe is going to be sold, given away or it’s going in the trash. You can’t do this to us.”