Chanel on Tuesday responded to a controversy about producing a high-priced boomerang featuring the brand’s signature logo after some people criticized it as an appropriation of Australian Aboriginal culture.
“Chanel is extremely committed to respecting all cultures, and deeply regrets that some may have felt offended,” the brand said in a statement.
Social media erupted with negative comments after Jeffree Star, a U.S. makeup artist with 4.7 million followers on Instagram, posted an image of the item with the caption: “Having so much fun with my new #Chanel boomerang 🖤.” The post drew close to 156,000 likes, and generated heated debate.
Some commenters pointed out the boomerang was originally not a toy but was used for hunting in Australia, adding that the Chanel version was offensive. Others questioned Star for spending money on the item, which on Chanel’s web site is priced at 1,260 euros, or $1,360.
Many defended the makeup artist, saying boomerangs were widely used for outdoor activities and he was entitled to purchase what he liked.
Nayuka Gorrie, an Aboriginal writer and activist, tweeted an image of the boomerang with the caption: “When I think about Aboriginal culture, I think @chanel.” She then followed with: “Have decided to save for the next three years so I can connect with my culture via @chanel.”
Chanel said the item was one of several sports accessories offered as part of its spring collection, alongside tennis rackets, a stand-up paddle, beach rackets and balls.
“The inspiration was taken from leisure activities from other parts of the world and it was not our intention to disrespect the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and the significance of the boomerang as a cultural object,” it said.