Fashion retailer Zara on Tuesday condemned anti-Palestinian comments made by one of its senior designers after the remarks spurred calls for a boycott of the Spanish apparel line on social media.
Vanessa Perilman, Zara’s head designer for its women’s department, got into an online argument with model Qaher Harhash, who is Palestinian, over his advocacy for the people in Gaza.
“Maybe if your people were educated then they wouldn’t blow up the hospitals and schools that Israel helped to pay for in Gaza,” Perilman wrote to Harhash on Instagram over direct message on June 9.
“The people in my industry know the truth about Israel and palestine and I will NEVER stop defending Israel and people like you come and go in the end,” Perilman wrote. “Israelis don’t teach children to hate nor throw stones at soldiers as your people do.”
In an interview from Berlin on Wednesday, Harhash said he was initially stunned that someone with so much influence in fashion like Perilman would engage with him in such a coarse manner.
“I went into their profile, and I saw that it said she’s the senior women’s designer at Zara,” Harhash told NBC News. “So I was like, I backed up, I thought to myself, like first of all, I just don’t want to mess with, with anyone you know.”