‘Bat Fried Rice’ shirt promoted by now-former Lululemon staffer draws backlash

Company, artist, former art director share apologies or acknowledgment, according to published reports

A carved wooden sign on the outside of a Lululemon store.
A carved wooden sign on the outside of a Lululemon store. (Getty Images/file)

Lululemon Athletica, a company perhaps best known for its trendy-but-pricey yoga pants and leggings, is now under fire after some Instagram activity from one of its former employees attracted negative attention Sunday, according to published reports.

Trevor Fleming, who was an art director for the company, shared a link on his personal Instagram account, promoting a $60 “Bat Fried Rice” shirt, NBC News reported.

On the front of the top, you can see a small set of bat wings and red chopsticks. On the back, there’s a Chinese rice box with bat wings around it, and the words “no thank you.” That “no thank you” phrase appears to be on the shirt’s sleeve, as well, according to a video posted by The Hill, which contained an image of the controversial shirt.

The shirt was designed by California artist Jess Sluder, NBC News said, adding that Sluder was otherwise unaffiliated with Lululemon.

People apparently saw Fleming’s Instagram link and started flocking to Lululemon’s official Instagram account in anger, calling the shirt racist.

Asian Americans have reported increased racism during this coronavirus pandemic.

The New York Times, sourcing a Reuters count, said more than 1,000 comments were made on Lululemon’s page in regards to Fleming’s online activity.

The company responded in the comments as well, saying the shirt wasn’t theirs, and Fleming was “no longer an employee” at Lululemon, according to NBC News. Fleming has since apologized for promoting the shirt and he wrote on Instagram that he did “not participate in any part of its creation,” NBC said.

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