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Clothing retailer Forever 21 is under fire for placing samples of Atkins diet bars in people’s online orders.
Angry customers this week about opening their online orders to find the clothes they ordered—plus a lemon bar from Atkins, a company that sells diet and weight loss plans.
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? pic.twitter.com/ds8kUTs7T7— MissGG🏳️🌈 (@MissGirlGames) July 19, 2019
Forever 21 said in a statement to the Daily Dot it occasionally partners with other companies to send sample products to customers.
“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,” the statement said. “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.”
Atkins did not immediately respond to the Daily Dot’s request for comment.
Some Twitter users commented that they had previously received sample products like razors. Still, many customers on Twitter found the inclusion of a protein bar in orders of plus-size clothes particularly offensive.
Twitter user @theverbalthing said Forever 21 took fatphobia to a “new level” with this stunt.
“Assuming this is a brand partnership with Atkins, is the money worth endangering the lives of your customers?” the user wrote.
Other users said the fact that it was an Atkins bar just made it worse, apparently alluding to the taste of the bar.
This isn’t the first time Forever 21 has gotten pushback on its advertising. In 2018, the retailer put a white model in a Wakanda sweater. A few years earlier, the company had white models wearing N.W.A. and Ice Cube shirts, which led to backfire for cultural appropriation.
“Today’s 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. The intention of sampling Atkins products is to share snacks that taste great with optimal nutritional benefit,” an Atkins spokesperson told the Daily Dot.
This story has been updated.
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Katie Balevic is an editorial intern at the Daily Dot where she enjoys covering social justice issues and politics. Her previous work has appeared in the Daily Texan, the Victoria Advocate, and the Houston Defender.