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Yorkville boutique criticized for using Black Lives Matter slogan to promote Black Friday sale

The Serpentine clothing store in Yorkville posted this image on its Instagram account to promote a Black Friday sale. INSTAGRAM

A Yorkville clothing boutique came under fire on Wednesday for borrowing imagery from the Civil Rights and Black Lives Matter movements to promote its Black Friday clothing sale.

Serpentine, at 132 Cumberland St., posted an ad on its Instagram page depicting a Civil Rights protest with the hashtag #BlackFridaysMatter superimposed in bright red lettering.

Instagram users were quick to call out the store for its questionable linking of the fight for racial equality with rampant consumerism.

“Distasteful to say the least!” one user wrote. “This is beyond poor taste – it’s vile,” another added.

CityNews attended Serpentine on Wednesday, only to be halted at the door and told the store wouldn’t be commenting.

On Wednesday afternoon, the store’s Instagram ad was removed and replaced with the following statement from store management:

statement

Passersby in the popular Yorkville neighbourhood struggled to comprehend what the store was trying to accomplish with the ad.

“I think it’s obscene,” a man named Mario said without reservation. “It’s being very clever, but in a negative way. I think there’s issues you don’t cross the line on. This is crossing the line.”

“That’s offensive,” added Andrea Jones. “That kind of leveraging the oppression and pain of others for a marketing strategy is really, really stupid.”

It’s not the first time a Yorkville store has been at the centre of controversy.

In August 2014, Eton of Sweden was criticized for a storefront window display that some thought had racial undertones.

Two nooses were seen dangling over a man’s shirt surrounded by cotton plants.

The company’s North American sales director, Chris Donohue, told CityNews at the time that it was meant to be a whimsical display of a swing over a cotton field.

Donohue said there was no malicious intent, but the display was promptly taken down.