It’s never OK to misappropriate other people (and their culture) for commercialism. Sure, Cubans don’t seem to be pissed that Che Guevara’s been made a fixture of t-shirts, but that doesn’t mean it’s an OK practice. That’s something Shopee is learning the hard way after being blasted online by the Myanmar people.
This is the shirt that got them into hot water for their insensitivity.
While at first glance it might seem innocent, that’s a copy of the very shirt that Kyal Sin wore when she was killed during a protest against Myanmar’s brutal military regime.
To be fair, Shopee isn’t directly selling the shirts. After all, the platform is sort of like Ebay or Amazon Marketplace, where private sellers sign up to sell their wares there.
However, the fault does fall on to Shopee for not doing a better job of vetting what goes on sale on their platform.
Doesn’t anybody at the company watch the news? Or did they think letting an infamous shirt go on sale on their site would get them internet cred so that it’d go viral?
Well…at least they got the second part, though I reckon they’re wishing otherwise.
It’s not just Shopee SG that’s suffering from a lack of judgement and compassion. Other regional branches such as Shopee Malaysia, Indonesia and Philippines are in on it too! The same shirt (likely by the same seller) is being sold on the other sites.
Dear Shopee, what you’ve done is incredibly stupid and insensitive on so many levels that I don’t even know where to start explaining it to you. While you guys aren’t the merchant selling the shirt, letting it go on sale on the platform means you’re pretty much complicit too!
Do a better job of vetting sellers instead of just letting idiots sell anything willy nilly! Greed is not a good thing!
As of this writing, it seems as if common sense has finally taken hold at Shopee HQ. The shirts aren’t available for sale no more.
Let’s hope it sticks.