DUBAI: Harvey Nichols Kuwait announced this week that they will no longer be stocking Cult Gaia products after the Los Angeles-based brand’s founder, Jasmin Larian, made comments on Instagram that were deemed by many on social media to be “anti-Palestine.”
Her post, which she shared with her 28,200 Instagram followers read: “I am seeing so much misinformation on social… One-sided and spreading hate. Please educate yourself on the full story before reposting. I’m praying for everyone on both sides who are a victim of this violence.” She also reposted a photo depicting the words “I support Israel’s right to defend itself.”
my girlies seem to love the cult gaia bags so much so here’s what the founder/creative director posted on her instastory pic.twitter.com/Cko2OJURJA
— جُـود (@joodthu) May 12, 2021
Many in the region perceived her post as taking an anti-Palestine stance and engaging in “bothsidesism,” and urged local department stores and e-tailers to stop selling Cult Gaia products.
In response to the backlash her post garnered, Larian, who is Iranian-Jewish, later shared: “I realize I am part of the problem by failing to share both sides.” She added, “I also want to be clear that I am in support of the Palestinian people and their rights but not of the leadership that uses them to incite violence and hatred for Israel and Jews. In a perfect world, Israel should be a place for all people and all religions.” However, a number of retailers have already made the decision to remove Cult Gaia from shelves.
Harvey Nichols in Kuwait took to Instagram on Monday to announce their decision to stop stocking the ready-to-wear label. “Our dear followers, due to the current escalation of events, the decision has been made to remove Cult Gaia from Harvey Nichols,” said the statement.
Galleries Lafayette in Doha followed suit, replying to a user calling for the boycott of the brand in an Instagram direct message that they are “in the process of taking the necessary action.”
— الريـم (@Euhporia) May 13, 2021
Ounass, a leading luxury e-tailer in the region, has also stopped selling Cult Gaia products on its online platform as well as Bloomingdales Middle East.
The death toll in Gaza has climbed to a total of 197, including at least 58 children and 34 women, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health. Since the beginning of the Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip this week, at least 1,235 Palestinians have been injured, with the number expected to rise, the health ministry said.