Anthropologie, a quirky retailer that focuses on off-beat styles for women, is coming under fire today for selling racially insensitive candlesticks that hit just about everyone’s hot button.

The $398 totem pole-style candelabras features two offensive images—a mammy with bright red lips and a stereotypical figure of an Asian woman.

Dubbed the “Trinket & Treasure Candlestick,” Anthropologie described the piece as:

“An assortment of found knickknacks, from antique animals to painted porcelain gentry and filigree tin, stack tall to form Primitive Twig’s taper holder. The decorative elements vary from piece to piece; no two are alike.”

Predictably, many were angered by the item. Anthropologie’s Facebook and Twitter pages were flooded with complaints and requests to remove the item. At the moment, the website says the candlesticks are “no longer available.”

After the candlesticks began to cause a stir, the company’s public relations director issued a statement, saying:

“An independent artisan makes these one-of-a-kind candlesticks from vintage ceramics. Unfortunately two that we received included extremely inappropriate figurines, and we have removed them from our website.” She adds: “We sincerely regret the offense we have caused.”

How wonderful. Another “I’m sorry you were offended” apology.

Apparently, no one at Anthropologie had eyes or felt the images were offensive because they were on sale until people began to complain.


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  • Bree

    Why do they take the time to release products like that?

  • Yes…Yes…YES.

  • Jerry

    … then they removed the candlesticks. And If I am offended by the censorship and the lack of letting us choose to buy or not?

  • If the candlesticks are made of genuine vintage collectibles, the only thing that would make them “offensive” would be a deliberate attempt by the artist to relate the images to their underlying historical stereotypes. If that was not the artist’s intent, then the candlesticks are no more offensive than the original collectibles and the piece is simply a curiosity that some people will like and some people won’t, like many famous paintings and other works of art. Beauty is still in the eye of the beholder.