Fitness brand Lululemon is apologizing to its customers after one of its staff members promoted an offensive shirt on social media. The staff member reportedly shared images of a “bat fried rice” T-shirt, which was widely considered to be both racist and offensive. The person has since left the company.

In several messages on Instagram, athletic retailer Lululemon has apologized for the “inexcusable” social media post that was shared by one of the company’s art directors.

Over the weekend, an Instagram post from the individual drew widespread criticism, after he promoted a T-shirt that was related to the novel coronavirus.

According to Business Insider, the item of clothing was printed with images of bat-winged chopsticks and a Chinese-style takeout box with the words "No Thank You.”

“We want to apologize that an employee was affiliated with promoting an offensive t-shirt. We hold our values at our core and find the image and post inexcusable,” Lululemon wrote in response to a comment on Instagram.

The company also assured customers that the T-shirt was not a Lululemon product. They added, “The individual involved with this incident is no longer an employee.”

In another message to a follower, the company wrote, “We take matters such as this extremely seriously and have no tolerance for cultural insensitivity and discrimination.”

According to The Globe and Mail, the company has received thousands of comments about the T-shirt on its social media accounts since Sunday. Many of the comments reportedly accuse the retailer of xenophobia.

Narcity reached out to Lululemon for comment. A spokesperson responded to confirm, "Our culture and values are core to who we are, and we take matters like this extremely seriously.

"We acted immediately, and the person involved is no longer an employee of Lululemon."

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Asian Canadians have reported increased experiences of racism.

Back in February, a video went viral after a man shouted at a Taiwanese Canadian woman, "You dropped your coronavirus."

Speaking to Narcity at the time, the woman explained, 
"Making [COVID-19] into a joke and a meme can actually have practical consequences if the mindset becomes widespread."

"Spreading misconceptions or even just the online bullying that has been appearing against Chinese people. It's humiliating," she concluded.

The creator of the T-shirt has since removed the product from its online shop.

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