ASOS is facing controversy over the name of a clothing brand it's stocking. Brand strategy consultant and co-founder of plus-size clothing label Nicolette Mason tweeted the retailer to ask why it was carrying a label with the racist name "Noose and Monkey":
"Hey ," Mason tweeted, including an ASOS link for the brand's Leaf Print Sweat, which shows the item worn by a person of color. "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."
The ASOS customer queries account responded:
In an email to ELLE.com, Mason said she had discovered the brand through a closed Facebook group and wanted to speak out about the discovery: "I do work with ASOS as an influencer and have shopped with them for years. In general I think they've done a really great job at being a leader when it comes to diversity in their casting and inclusive visual language. But I expect them to have the same scrutiny and tone of inclusion in their buying as I do in their messaging — so they need to be accountable for the brands they carry, as well."
Mason also pointed out that other people have called ASOS out on Twitter for stocking the label, dating back to last June. According to , ASOS has stocked the brand since at least October 2013.
In one instance, ASOS US' Twitter account referred the customer back to the London-based brand's website for the story behind the name:
Nooseandmonkey.com explains that the brand's name derives from folklore:
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.
ASOS issued the following statement to ELLE.com: "We are very sorry this brand name has caused offense. We have removed it from our site immediately and will work with their team to address the naming issue."
Despite swift and strongly voiced criticisms of fashion brands for racist slogans and imagery, retail behemoths have continued to produce items that raise ire. In 2016, ASOS faced similar criticisms for made by the label Wasted Heroes. The retailer removed the item and the image from its Marketplace site, where ASOS features "independent sellers." And last month for a photo of a black child wearing a hoodie that said "Coolest monkey in the jungle" and pulled the item from stores globally.
Singer The Weeknd had expressed disgust at the image, with other celebrities joining him: