Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Exploitative Textile Company Removes Pope Ad

Edit: UPDATE: Benetton has pulled their ad, recently, but the damage has been done.

The trendy, colorful and androgynous clothes of Benetton are famous all around the world for their ad campaigns which promote a promiscuous cultural melange and challenge the sexual norms of the world's religions. They also make light of the entire political spectrum from the Left to the Right side of the Seine or the Moscow. The ads seem to say, "this is how fun life can be without religion or politics." Despite their efforts to promote a world clique, and decisive social changes, they're also increasingly notorious for the unsafe conditions of their factories and exploiting their laborers. So, the sexually ambivalent Luciano Benetton and his company, despite being progressive about some things, still has a great deal of respect for Mammon.

How about creating sharecroppers in Africa through mini-credit?

Recently, as mentioned above, Benetton has attacked the Pope with a photo-shopped ad depicting him with a Mohammedan cleric embracing and kissing. The ad is decidedly exploitative and has once again raised people's awareness of this label, Mohammedanism and Catholicism.

And yet, despite Benetton's concern with the sexual outlook of the world's religions, and their own progressive sexual ethic, they continue to make the news for their bad faith in terms of their labor practices. Last year, 3,000 female textile workers rioted against what they felt were low wages and poor working conditions. This is obviously something which might interest the culturally progressive audience Benetton has cultivated in the last quarter century.

At least nine female garment workers were injured on Tuesday in clashes with Cambodian riot police who used shields and electric shock batons to try to end a week-long strike over the suspension of a local union official.

More than 100 police, at least 50 in riot gear and carrying assault rifles, tried to force an estimated 3,000 female workers back into their factory, pushing several to the ground and stunning them with batons, a Reuters witness said, which we found at Deceiver.

Link to article...

The clashes were the latest setback for an industry that was badly hurt by the global economic slump from 2008 and more recently has been plagued by strikes over low pay and working conditions.

The factory on the outskirts of the capital, Phnom Penh, is owned by a Malaysian firm and produces garments for companies including Gap, Benetton, Adidas and Puma.

But that's not the only problem Benetton faces:

On 14 December 2010, 28 workers of the sportswear factory That’s It in Bangladesh went up in flames or jumped to their deaths when a fire tore through the ninth and tenth floors of their factory building. They were not the first ones whose lives had ended violently in the work place. Since 2000, at least ten Bangladeshi factories were razed by fire or simply collapsed on top of the workers, because the owners cared more about money than about the safety of their employees.

We might also add that Benetton is an avid supporter of unsavory sexual mores. His numerous ads depicting curious sexual poses valorizing aberrosexuality speak for themselves. Could it be that the Italian, and shamelessly Republican Senator, Luciano Benetton, shares with many anti-clerical Italians, a hatred of the Catholic Church? If the following paragraphs are any indication, it wouldn't be surprising:

The solution was one of the most controversial campaigns in advertising history. Under the banner, United Colours of Benetton, there appeared first mixed-race couples and later more shocking images. One showed the bloodstained uniform of a dead soldier in former Yugoslavia. Others highlighted social problems such as Aids. None used professional models.

Mr Benetton is coy about whether his goal has been to change the world or merely to hijack topical issues to promote his brand. "I'm not the so-called `creative' person in the company," he says. But he does vet all the images before they go out. "Our principles are not to offend people and not to lie."

We're not the only ones to have noticed this familiar duplicity. Three days ago, an article appeared in A Paper Bird has also noticed this as well, citing also how Benetton pays its female workers in Tunisia.

So much for consistency.

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