New York City Took Legal Action Against Prada's Blackface Scandal — and Won
In 2018, Prada was accused of using blackface in its stores after some of its New York City storefronts featured "black figures that resembled monkeys with large red lips". At the time, many critics said that huge global companies like Prada had a "limited capacity to learn" from mistakes and were being "careless."
This week, The New York Times is reporting that the New York City Commission on Human Rights, led by Carmelyn P. Malalis, issued a cease-and-desist letter to Prada, managed to take the issue to court, and ended up winning. Subsequently,Miuccia Prada herself, as well as other Prada execs, and all of the company's employees in New York will undergo sensitivity training courses.
After civil-rights lawyer Chinyere Ezie's Facebook post, which showed the store displays, went viral, Prada apologized publicly. Ezie still issued a complaint with the New York City Commission on Human Rights and in February 2019, Prada announced that it was creating an internal diversity council, which was reportedly in the works months before the controversial window display.
According to The Cut [LINK], as part of the commission's agreement, Prada "will have to disclose the demographic makeup of all its staff next February, and the council Prada convened in 2019 will have to continue for six years, with status updates given to the commission every six months." Additionally, Prada is required to hire a director of diversity and inclusion who will be tasked with reviewing every design that will be advertised or sold in the U.S.
There's no information on how this could impact other brands, including Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana, which have also faced accusations of blackface. Publicly, Prada is cooperating with the commission, though there's no way to tell what's happening behind the scenes. The Times notes that Prada was the only brand that would disclose its situation with the commission, so other fashion brands may have also reached agreements with the organization, as well.