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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Vogue Italia Apologizes for “Slave Earrings” Feature


While we were griping about the Nivea ad, Vogue Italia attempted to slip under the radar with the sale of their "Slave Earrings." Yes, you read that right they decided it was ok to sell earrings called "Slave earrings." Whats ironic about it is the earrings don't resemble anything a slave, or any other person who does manual labor, would wear. 
The magazine blames their choice of words on translation issues, but are you buying that? I know I don't. Similar to my critiques of the Nivea ad, Vogue needs to also take some responsibility for not employing-or employing and not taking seriously- people who could have properly translated the ad. The people involved with the Vogue Italia brand should have known better. 

I really hate to feel like the racist police. 

Vogue Italia has issued a formal apology for running an online feature about gold hoop earrings that they dubbed “Slave Earrings,” calling the text a “really bad translation.”

The magazine found itself in hot water when the article, which was published earlier this month, circulated on Twitter.  Along with the “Slave Earrings” headline was a description that formerly read: “If the name brings to the mind the decorative traditions of the women of color who were brought to the southern Unites States during the slave trade, the latest interpretation is pure freedom.” Ultimately, the publication removed the text all together and replaced it with the published statement, “We’ve decided to remove the article from the site to prove our good faith and show it wasn’t our intention to insult anyone.”  Still, the “Ethnic Earrings” headline remains on the site along with the original gallery of earrings.

Franca Sozzani, editor-in-chief, issued an apology for the earring description that sparked outrage in commenters and said that it was all a language misunderstanding. "We apologize for the inconvenience. It is a matter of really bad translation from Italian into English," she said. "The Italian word, which defines those kind of earrings, should instead be translated into 'ethnical style earrings'. Again, we are sorry about this mistake which we have just amended in the website." 

I do remember when Vogue Italia's 2008 Black Issue, which featured only photo shoots of Black Models. The issue has become their best selling issue to date and they STILL managed to make this misstep. Will it ever stop?   

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