- The Washington Times - Thursday, February 7, 2019

The high-end designer Gucci has apologized for selling a sweater that looks like blackface in the wake of the scandal involving Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and state Attorney General Mark Herring.

“Gucci deeply apologizes for the offense caused by the wool balaclava jumper,” the company said in a Wednesday statement. “We can confirm that the item has been immediately removed from our online stores and all physical stores.”

A model wearing the black sweater, which retailed for $890 online, had pulled it up over her mouth to show an opening with bright red lips.

“We are fully committed to increasing diversity throughout our organization and turning this incident into a powerful learning moment for the Gucci team and beyond,” said the statement posted on Twitter.

The Italian luxury brand was accused of racism on social media for offering the item, which followed admissions by Mr. Northam and Mr. Herring that they wore blackface in separate episodes to impersonate African-American entertainers decades ago, when the governor was in medical school and Mr. Herring was 19.

The governor has refused calls by fellow Democrats to resign over the scandal, which began when a photo from his medical school yearbook surfaced last week showing two people, one wearing blackface and one in a Ku Klux Klan costume.

Mr. Northam said that he was not in the photo, which appeared on his yearbook page in 1984. Eastern Virginia Medical School has launched an investigation into all past yearbook photos.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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