This ’12 Years a Slave’ fashion advice was a terrible idea

Do we even need to explain why this is terrible?

Mar 2, 2020, 4:26 am*



Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

12 Years a Slave came out months ago, but apparently the DVD release is giving people fresh opportunities for bizarre and horribly racist advertising.

British supermarket chain Sainsbury’s came under fire on Monday after a photo surfaced of a 12 Years A Slave DVD display that gave customers the opportunity to “get the look.” As in, the slave “look,” as if 12 Years a Slave was some kind of Hollywood fashion trend. The supermarket DVD stand included a mannequin wearing cropped trousers and a loose-fitting beige shirt: supposedly a slave-themed outfit.

When creating a shop display for, say, The Great Gatsby, this kind of fashion tip might be vaguely appropriate. But does it really need explaining why it’s incredibly offensive and stupid to advise shoppers on how to “get the look” of 12 Years a Slave?

According to Sainsbury’s PR Twitter feed, the display has already been removed. Why it was there in the first place, we may never know—particularly because it took some bad Twitter publicity to make them take it down. Of course, removing the display won’t remove the photos that have been retweeted all over the Internet.

Photo via Twitter

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*First Published: May 19, 2014, 11:21 am