Is this more dog whistle racism? Or an international cultural misunderstanding?
ASOS has come under fire more and more over the past few months over the name of a clothing brand it stocks: Noose And Monkey.
Our American readers will likely see right away what’s offensive about the phrase, with its sometime racial epithet and lynching imagery.
The heat on Twitter hit a tipping point this week with a sweatshirt worn by a black model, with a print some believed to be leaves of cotton:
Had to delete to do some research but am I trippin for being agaitated? “Noose and Monkey”? I’m like 78.4% that’s cotton on the shirt not no damn LEAVES. But like @iHeartChels93 @amberscloset33 I feel like y’all will tell me if I’m trippin or not ├░┼╕┬ñΓÇ¥ pic.twitter.com/HhxhXYqe9O
├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ Ching Ching (@ChynnaTown11) February 8, 2018
Hey @ASOS, you know i love you guys, but how are you carrying a brand with THIS name?! TRULY unacceptable. & extremely unfair to the models, as well. h/t bsfc https://t.co/fzuXR1haQF
├óΓé¼ΓÇ¥ nicolette mason (@nicolettemason) February 8, 2018
The controversy was enough for ASOS to pull the brand from its site, releasing this statement to Elle:
“We are very sorry this brand name has caused offence. We have removed it from our site immediately and will work with their team to address the naming issue.”
Noose and Monkey itself has the story of its unusual brand name on its website, and it’s quite a bit removed from American racism:
“Noose & Monkey is a story of mistaken identity and disguise. During the Napoleonic wars, the crew of a French naval vessel dressed their pet monkey in an officers uniform. After being shipwrecked off Hartlepool, the monkey was discovered on the beach. The locals, assuming he was a Frenchman and therefore an enemy spy, interrogated and eventually hung him in the town square.
To this current day Hartlepool has been well known for this story which has now become folklore.
The brand looks at the truth and the lie, the innocent and guilty, the Noose and the Monkey. Our concept is to focus on the two sides of every story and every man, and to play with twisting those sides.”
That can’t possibly be real folklore, and oh wait who are we kidding, of course it’s real. Though if you look harder, it turns out the Hartlepool “monkey” may have actually referred to a young French boy — small children were used by the navy to put gunpowder in the cannons, and they were sometimes referred to as “powder-monkeys”. Kinda makes the whole story dark as hell in a completely different way…
Nevertheless it seems at least the story is real, though the intention behind the name obviously can’t be verified.
What do YOU think??
[Image via ASOS.]