Prada, New York City reach settlement over blackface imagery in store display

SOHO, Manhattan (WABC) -- Prada and New York City have reached a settlement over products featuring blackface imagery.

Chinyere Ezie, a staff attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights, was shocked to see the racist items in the window of Prada's Prince Street storefront more than a year ago and immediately posted about it on Facebook, where it quickly went viral.

Prada has now agreed to launch a scholarship program and an internship program for minority designers and will also train all of its employees, including the brand's founder.

The New York City Commission on Human Rights announced the settlement Wednesday following the national outcry over the display and sale of its "Pradamalia" merchandise in December 2018.

The commission immediately issued a cease and desist letter and launched an investigation into the company over the monkey figurine from the collection that evoked images of Sambo, a caricature that over generations has been used to mock and dehumanize black people.

The settlement requires that Prada invest in restorative justice efforts to combat anti-black racism and promote diversity and inclusion in Prada's business activities, advertising, and products.

Prada will:
--Ensure that New York City employees and Milan executives receive racial equity training
--Develop a scholarship program for people historically underrepresented in fashion

--Within 90 days, present the commission with CV of candidates for a senior, director-level diversity and inclusion officer who will review Prada's advertising and products sold in the United States, as well as review and monitor Prada's anti-discrimination policies
--Maintain Prada's Diversity and Inclusion Council, launched by Prada in February of 2019, with a minimum of three to five members for a period of at least six years with regular reporting by Prada on the council's progress to the commission.
--Consult with Dr. Joyce Brown, president of the Fashion Institute of Technology, who sits on the Diversity and Inclusion Council

Additionally, the settlement requires all of Prada's New York City employees to undergo New York City Human Rights Law training by a licensed attorney with substantial knowledge of anti-discrimination training.

Prada worked willingly and collaboratively with the commission to reach the terms of the settlement.

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