Director Spike Lee boycotts Gucci and Prada over 'racist' products

The Oscar-nominated 'BlacKkKlansman' star will not be wearing either label to the February 24 awards

Director Spike Lee poses for photographers upon arrival for the The Academy's 91st Oscar Nominee Champagne Tea Reception in London, Friday, Feb 8, 2019. (Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP)
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It's a gig that every fashion label covets: to dress a nominated star for the Oscars. However, director Spike Lee will not be wearing two luxury brands to this year's ceremony, after announcing he is boycotting Prada and Gucci over recent scandals.

Italian label Gucci issued on apology on Thursday following outrage over its "balaclava jumper", which featured a neckline that sat over the wearer's nose, with a cut-out around the mouth lined in red.

The item was likened to "blackface" by many social media users, with the label subsequently recalling the jumper from its online and physical stores.

In the wake of the controversy, Lee - who is nominated for Best Director at the 2019 Academy Awards - revealed he will not work with either Gucci or Prada until the labels employ designers of colour.

"I, Spike Lee of sound mind and body will no longer wear Prada Or Gucci until they hire some black designers 'to be in da room when it happens (sic)'," the star posted on Instagram.

"It's obvious to da peoples (sic) that they don't have a clue when it comes to racist, blackface, hateful imagery. Wake up."

Lee's BlacKkKlansman, which tells the story of the first African-American detective to serve in the Colorado Springs Police Department, is also up for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay at the Oscars, which will be held on Sunday, February 24.

The director has previously worn both labels on the red carpet, and neither Gucci nor Prada have yet responded to his message.

FILE - In this file photo taken on Aug. 31, 2018, director Spike Lee, left, wearing a Gucci outfit, and Tonya Lee Lewis pose for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'A Star Is Born' at the 75th edition of the Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy. Director Spike Lee said Friday, Feb. 8, 2019, he will no longer wear Gucci or Prada until the brands hire some black designers, ‘’To Be In Da Room When It Happen" following a pair of blackface fashion fails. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

In response to the widespread criticism, Gucci did issue a statement on its Twitter account on Thursday, apologising for any offence caused.

"We consider diversity to be a fundamental value to be fully upheld, respected, and at the forefront of every decision we make," Gucci posted.

"We are fully committed to increasing diversity throughout our organisation and turning this incident into a powerful learning moment for the Gucci team and beyond."

Prada, meanwhile, removed keychains and storefront figurines that evoked comparisons to blackface from stores in December.

The label issued a public apology, axing the $550 key rings from sale.

"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,” its statement read.

“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 all of the characters in question from display and circulation.”

Dolce & Gabbana also issued an apology last November, after releasing a video showing a Chinese model using chopsticks to try to eat Italian food.

The brand subsequently postponed a catwalk show in Shanghai, while Chinese e-commerce sites removed Dolce & Gabbana products from their listings.

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