Forever21 Is Under Fire for Allegedly Sending Diet Bars with Online Orders
The company is being called out for sending a "harmful" message.
UPDATE: Forever21 responded with a statement to InStyle, writing: "From time to time, Forever 21 surprises our customers with free test products from third parties in their e-commerce orders. The freebie items in question were included in all online orders, across all sizes and categories, for a limited time and have since been removed. This was an oversight on our part and we sincerely apologize for any offense this may have caused to our customers, as this was not our intention in any way."
Plenty of us love Forever21 for bringing us trendy pieces on a budget — even Blake Lively was a longtime fan. But the brand is currently under fire from people who claim that the company has been sending out diet bars with online orders.
Over the past few days, Twitter users have posted photos of their Forever21 orders, which included Atkins lemons bars. A majority of the posts came from users who say they had purchased plus-sized items, but some users said that they received Atkins bars along with items outside of the plus-sized collection, as well.
The move drew outcry from people who slammed Forever21 for promoting diet culture, fat-shaming customers, and risking triggering those who suffer from disordered eating and eating disorders.
Gani G., one of the Twitter users who says she received a plus-sized clothing order with an Atkins bar, tells InStyle she was initially confused, then angry, adding that it seemed to imply that "there is something wrong with me that needs to be fixed."
"It also made me think that maybe they don't want to provide plus size clothing anymore and this is their way of telling us," she says. "Right now I just feel disrespected, and I can only imagine that all of the other women who received the diet bar feels the same way."
Chloe, another woman who spoke out on Twitter, tells InStyle that she ordered clothing in sizes small and medium and was shocked when she saw the Atkins bar in her order, leading her to believe that the company was "trying to shame people."
"That would be so embarrassing if you went into a physical F21 store and got handed an Atkins bar on your way out!" she says.
Though Forever21's statement said that the items have been removed, Chloe said that she's been ordering from the company for years and hadn't received any free products until now.
"Maybe my timing was never during any of these trial periods, but this is the first I've ever heard of them doing that," she says. "They must have just removed the bar because my order was packaged on the 19th."
While the lemon bar that seems to have been included in the orders is not specifically marketed as a diet bar itself, Atkins is known for the Atkins diet, which purports to help people lose weight by limiting carbohydrate intake. However, studies have not found the Atkins diet to be any more effective, than, say, behavioral counseling for weight loss. Not to mention, your body needs carbohydrates, and drastically cutting carbs can lead to headaches, dizziness, weakness, fatigue, and constipation.
UPDATED, 7/23/2019, 2:30 EST: This story has been updated to include a statement from Forever 21 as well as statements from Forever 21 shoppers.