Critics Say Nordstrom Sweater Spreads Offensive Jewish Stereotypes
Nordstrom has pulled a Hannukah-themed sweater intended to be humorous, but instead drew criticism that the sweater furthers offensive Jewish stereotypes.
The sweater, depicting a Menorah and the phrase "Chai Maintenance," playing on the term "high maintenance," with "Chai," the Hebrew word for life. Below that, the sweater says "JAP," a slang term short for "Jewish American Princess."
"I'm disappointed to see that Nordstrom is selling such an offensive item that perpetuates negative stereotypes of Jewish women," one Facebook user posted on Nordstrom's page.
"We made a mistake by not looking more closely at the words on the sweater before we posted it—had we done so, we wouldn't have offered it," a Nordstrom spokeswoman told Fortune. "As soon as we heard from customers, we removed it from our site right away. We're terribly sorry for offending people and sincerely apologize."
This news came after a few other retailers, including Walmart and Target, have found themselves in hot water over products and advertisements deemed offensive.
Customers were upset over Walmart's decision to sell a children's Halloween costume of an Israeli soldier. The costume, called "Israeli Soldier Costume for Kids," was a child-sized version of the standard Israeli Defense Forces uniform.
Target has been selling Christmas-themed sweaters that say "OCD: Obsessive Christmas Disorder." Critics say that the sweater makes light of a legitimate mental illness, but Target has stood firm, and continues to sell the product.
Nordstrom reported weak third-quarter sales, and warned Wall Street that its holiday season won't be much better, resulting in a 15 percent drop in shares last week.