Ralph Lauren Apologizes For Using Black Fraternity Symbol

Ralph Lauren Apologizes For Using Black Fraternity Symbol

The Ralph Lauren Corp. has apologized for using a black fraternity’s symbols on a pair of chinos following complaints, and said they are no longer available for sale.

An ad for the pants on Ralph Lauren’s French website featured the Greek letters for Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc., which was founded at Howard University, a prominent historically black college in Washington, according to the fraternity’s website.

The use of the lettering prompted a Change.org petition this month demanding that the company “do the right thing and recall, destroy and publicly apologize for trying to capitalize off of black culture.”

The pants retailed for 299.99 euros (about $334 U.S. dollars) and featured the fraternity’s symbols on the back left pant leg.

“We don’t know who thought this was a good idea, but they need to fix it quick,” the petition states, saying that Phi Beta Sigma is a professional organization that is not for sale.

A legal representative for the fraternity said Tuesday that it was investigating and that it was “shocked and appalled” that Ralph Lauren would violate the fraternity’s trademarks without consent.

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