Harvey Nichols Kuwait has taken action with regards to one of its stocked brands following comments made by its founder that were deemed anti-Palestine. Amid escalating violence in the country, Jasmin Larian of Cult Gaia, the Los Angeles-based ready-to-wear brand in question, recently came under fire following her Instagram post which was considered to be against human rights.
Her post 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.” According to health officials, as of May 15, the Israel-Gaza violence has caused the death of 132 Palestinians, among them women and children. Eight people have died in Israel. As such, given the escalation of violence in the region, Larian’s post was perceived as slanted by those in support of Palestine and heavily criticized by the clients of the department store. It lead to mass outrage on social media calling for Cult Gaia’s boycott by consumers and its stockists around the Gulf.
In response to the backlash, Larian 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 chain reaction of stores actioning the feedback asking for the brand’s removal had already begun.
Today, May 17, Harvey Nichols Kuwait took to Instagram to announce its decision to “remove” Cult Gaia. The statement posted to its Instagram stories read, “Our dear followers, due to the current escalation of events, the decision has been made to remove Cult Gaia from Harvey Nichols.” The same was called for by social media users from the luxury department store’s other Middle Eastern branches. Since then, Harvey Nichols Dubai and Bloomingdales Middle East have stated on their Instagram stories that they have “escalated this matter and will ensure” that it takes “any necessary steps.” While no comment has been made by Harvey Nichols Riyadh, an Instagram direct message from the department store in Doha says that it has “removed the brand from display.” A similar message from Galeries Lafayette in Doha reads that it will be removing the brand from the store.
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