Forever 21 'fat-shames' customers by sending Atkins diet bars with plus-size clothing orders causing outrage
Forever 21 has clarified that it sent the diet bars to all its customers and not just those who had ordered plus-sized clothing
Fashion retailer Forever 21 has come under fire from social media users for a seemingly tone-deaf promotion that saw customers, including those who ordered plus-size clothing, receiving diet bars in their packages.
The company was heavily criticized after it reportedly sent Atkins low-carb lemon diet bars to several customers who ordered plus-size clothing. Many termed the firm's action as "distasteful," "insensitive," and even "disgusting."
"Forever 21 is sending diet bars with clothes you order and that’s so insensitive holy crap like.... how about we don’t make someone negatively reflect on their body image when trying to just order some new outfits ?????" one user wrote.
Another posted, "I went from a size 24 to 18, still a plus size girl, so I ordered jeans from @Forever21. Opened the package, when I looked inside I see this Atkins bar. What are you trying to Tell me Forever 21, I’m FAT, LOSE WEIGHT? do you give these to NON-PLUS SIZE WOMEN as well?"
Forever 21, however, has clarified that it had sent the diet bars to all its customers and not just those who had ordered plus-sized clothing. It has now removed the diet bar following criticism.
In a statement to Jezebel, the retailer said: "From time to time, Forever 21 surprises our customers with free test products from third parties in their e-commerce orders. The freebie items in question were included in all online orders, across all sizes and categories, for a limited time and have since been removed."
"This was an oversight on our part and we sincerely apologize for any offense this may have caused to our customers, as this was not our intention in any way."
In response, one user tweeted, "If this is indeed a brand partnership between you @Forever21+ Atkins I’d strongly suggest you reevaluate it Not only is it coming off as discriminatory but it isn’t even rolled out well - Its completely catching customers off guard with distasteful implied message to lose weight.
That view was echoed by Instagram user @mermaidqueenjude, who posted an image with the text, "Forever 21 is fatphobic."
In the caption, she wrote, "I’m tired of diet culture and fatphobia, I’m tired of people thinking this is okay. I’m tired. It is so dangerous to body shame and suggest that someone eat less or go on a diet, you don’t know their history with food. As someone recovering from an ED, this would’ve set me back so far. F*** you @forever21. How dare you endanger your customers like that?"
Forever 21, however, defended its original move again in a statement to the New York Post, insisting that the diet bars were included because "Atkins is focused on a lifestyle nutritional approach where everyone can benefit from overall health and wellbeing."
"Our brand evolution is reflected in the current marketing efforts to highlight the health benefits of eating a low carb/low sugar Atkins lifestyle, with a portfolio of nutritious and delicious snacks for everyone," they continued. "The intention of sampling Atkins products is to share snacks that taste great with optimal nutritional benefit."