Vanessa Perilman, the head designer at Zara, has been engaged in controversy after making anti-Palestinian remarks in a chat with a male model, who subsequently shared the chat on social media.
Perilman supported Israel’s misdeeds, blaming Palestinian victims for terrorism in Gaza. She went on to criticize the model’s Muslim beliefs.
“Maybe if your people were educated then they wouldn’t blow up hospitals and schools that Israel helped to pay for in Gaza,” she wrote to male model Qaher Harhash, who is from East Jerusalem, ignoring the fact that Israeli airstrikes during a brutal bombing campaign last month killed more than 250 Palestinians.
“I think it’s funny that you’re a model because in reality, that is against what the Muslim faith believes in and if you were to come out of the closet in any Muslim country, you would be stoned to death,” she then exclaimed.
Thousands of people complained to Zara after this, but the company declined to take action, instead of responding with a generic remark about Perilman’s “spontaneous” apologies being accepted by Harhash.
Harhash was contacted by the company, who said that they wanted him to put Perilman’s apologies online so that the problem could be resolved.
The model shared a portion of their discussion online, and it seemed that Perilman was scared about losing her job and apologized for venting her emotions on him, stating she was weary of hearing people hate on Jews everywhere.
The model correctly said that Zara should openly recognize Islamophobia, which is frequently overlooked by European culture despite the fact that Muslims make up a significant portion of their customer base.
“When certain designers said anti-semitic things they were fired from their jobs at luxury [fashion] houses,” he recalled.
Harhash then said that Perilman removed the abusive recordings and texts she gave him before deleting all of her social media accounts.
“I wonder why someone would delete their messages before deactivating if they had nothing to hide,” he said, claiming that what came out of her mouth was worse than, if not equivalent to, anti-semitism.
He said that an apology required truly accepting the harm you did, while Perilman’s request for him to comprehend the Israeli viewpoint was just her supporting the existing quo’s forced coexistence. As a result, he refused to accept her apologies, claiming that if she came into his email to spew vile remarks, there was no reason for him to accept a fake apology.
The model has subsequently used the hashtag #BoycottZara to urge his fans to boycott the business. The movement has taken root all across the globe, with many individuals, including Pakistanis, responding to the call.
We appreciate that Zara has no control over what its workers say, but attempting to sweep the incident under the rug after it was brought to their attention by claiming that an apology had been received is ludicrous. The company should accept some responsibility for the acts of its top executives and at the very least demonstrate that it cares. We’ve figured out where we won’t be shopping any longer.