Rituals criticised for racist 'oriental' style

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Dutch beauty brand Rituals has found itself in the eye of a PR storm. An activist Instagram account accuses the label of treating Asian cultures disrespectfully. 

 

A form of racism?

Estée Laundry, an American collective that uses social media to air the dirty laundry of beauty brands, currently targets Rituals. The anonymous Instagram account, which has 184,000 followers, claims that the personal care brand is disrespectful to Asian cultures, from which Rituals often draws its inspiration.

 

With collections such as Sakura, Namaste and Samurai, the brand declares to pay tribute to Asian cultures and keep their heritage alive. However, Estée Laundry argues that appropriating these cultures without genuine knowledge and to make a profit is also a form of racism. The Instagram account also complains that the brand is not taking action against the increasing violence against Americans of Asian origin in the United States. 

 

From all over the world

A number of ex-employees, mainly in the US, have also joined the debate, recalling a lack of diversity within the company - with predominantly white faces in management positions and in campaign images. 

 

Meanwhile, the press officer of Rituals The Netherlands responded that the brand promotes well-being throughout the world, "whatever the origin", according to the Belgian newspaper Gazet van Antwerpen. Regarding the violence against Asians in the US, the American branch responded that it finds such violence unacceptable and supports anyone who has been a victim of hate crimes.