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Designer Virgil Abloh Addresses Backlash Over His Looting Comments and $50 Donation

Designer Virgil Abloh Addresses Backlash Over His Looting Comments and $50 Donation

Designer Virgil Abloh Addresses Backlash Over His Looting Comments and $50 Donation
Virgil Abloh, Paris Fashion Week 2019

Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images

Designer Virgil Abloh has issued an apology.

On Monday, the Louis Vuitton men’s artistic director and founder of Off-White took to social media to address his previous comments about people looting, as well as his $50 donation to help protesters who needed bail money.

For some backstory: Over the weekend, Virgil uploaded a screenshot to his Instagram Stories—which has now expired but has been shared online—that suggested he only donated $50 “for kids in the streets that need a [sic] bail funds for the George Floyd protests.”

In addition, he also posted and commented on a video that showed Sean Wotherspoon‘s Round Two Vintage store being looted.

In one response, which has since been deleted but captured by online users, the 39-year-old designer wrote, “You see the passion, blood, sweat and tears Sean puts in for our culture. This disgusts me.”

He continued, “To the kids that ransacked his store and RSVP DTLA, and all our stores in our scene just know, that product staring at you in your home/apartment right now is tainted and a reminder of a person I hope you aren’t. We’re a part of a culture together. Is this what you want?? When you walk past him in the future please have the dignity to not look him in the eye, hang your head in shame….”

After facing backlash, the Off-White designer apologized for his comments and his donations in a seven-page statement that was shared on Twitter and Instagram.

“I apologize that my comments yesterday appeared as if my main concerns are anything other than full solidarity with the movements against police violence, racism, and inequality,” his statement read. “I want to update all systems that don’t address our current needs. It has been my personal MO in every realm I touch.”

“Yesterday I spoke about how my stores and stores of friends were looted,” he continued. “I apologize that it seemed like my concern for those stores outweighed my concern for our right to protest injustice and express our anger and rage in this moment.”

Moreover, Virgil also addressed the criticism over his donations.

“I also joined a social media chain of friends who were matching $50 donations. I apologize that appeared to some as if that was my only donation to these important causes,” he expressed.

The designer revealed that he has “donated $20,500 to bail funds and other causes related to the movement.”

“I will continue to donate more and will continue to use my voice to urge peers to do the same,” he went on. “I was on the fence about publicizing total dollar amounts because I didn’t want to look like I’m glorifying only higher amounts or that I want to be applauded for it. If you know me, you know that’s not me.”

The Louis Vuitton artistic director said he also plans to help in other ways.

“My particular aim is to change opportunities for young kids that look like me to design and ascend to the same position I have,” he shared. “Some upcoming projects include: items releasing shortly where all proceeds support bail funds for protestors [sic]. A platform titled ‘Community Service’ launched earlier this year that support [sic] emerging black artists and designers with financial support and mentoring.”

Closing his message, he wrote, “I lead with love and move with respect to everyone I ever meet.”

You can read Virgil’s full statement here.

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