Fun facts about political correctness and IP

By Ana Cisneros | 17-Nov-2022

In this occasion, we bring you 5 fun facts regarding political correctness and examples where brands have been "tone deaf" and one that may or may not have happened… Can you spot the knockoff? 

H&M and its “coolest monkey in the jungle” fiasco

Once upon a time, H&M used to be a beloved Swedish clothing brand for being affordable yet high quality, and the first brand to come up with the recycling of old clothes idea and conscious material appliance in their pieces (which is under scrutiny as we speak but more on that on future blog publications).

However, what H&M did not have, was the consciousness of Black history. Apparently, the whole “black people were treated as animals and enslaved” did not reach the marketing and design department at H&M. They decided to create a jumper with the wordings “coolest monkey in the jungle” and use a beautiful toddler to model it…a beautiful BLACK toddler.

Needless to say, they had to apologize for their “tone-deaf” advertising and remove the image from their website and the jumper from stores worldwide.

Click here for the image and apology.

That one-time Docle&Gabbana went so far they had to issue an apology

Domenico Dolce and Steffano Gabbana are no strangers to controversy. Still, they hardly ever take accountability for their actions (or comments, like that time they called Selena Gomez “proprio brutta” (really ugly. Click here for that gossip).

Or that one time they came up with an advertisement for their runway show in Shanghai so racist and stereotypical that they had to cancel it and issue a public apology.

In the promotional videos, there was an Asian woman eating pizza and pasta with chopsticks and then being taught about the “Italian way” of doing things.

The videos had to be taken down, the runway show was canceled, and the pair even apologized for their “tone-deaf” promotional material.

Adidas and its BYE to Ye

Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, is no stranger to controversy. From his MAGA hats, white lives matter jumper, and its support for Trump, he is constantly on the wrong side of the spotlight for his incendiary comments and remarks. Nonetheless, his latest antisemitic declarations have put him under pressure (as he said himself, he now feels like “George Floyd with a knee on his neck” …I rest my case). In a (typical) rant on Twitter, he said he thought the Jewish community was controlling P. Diddy.

He did not respond to any comments requesting him to take those comments back until Adidas decided to terminate its contract with YE and the production of their collaboration with his brand, Yeezy. Though the decision was praised (link here), Adidas was heavily criticized for not making such a decision before, beknowing of the racist comments and declarations Ye makes constantly.

Could facial recognition be considered racist or misogynist?

That's the claim on the facial recognition of Amazon. A study by the MTI Media Lab shows that the facial recognition system developed by Amazon, Rekognition, is biased when applied to females and people with darker skin. The problem with the AI’s poor identification skills shows that the algorithm has not been provided with sufficient data to recognize individuals who are not white males accurately.

This shows a concern not only due to the apparent lack of representation of the information provided to the AI, where it becomes dangerous when applied for facial recognition by customs and immigration authorities.

Although other companies such as Microsoft and IBM have improved their algorithm to avoid such bias, Amazon has still not made significant changes and claimed the algorithm is responsible for this “mistake.”

What the internet is doing to provide safety to the LGBT community

The LGBT community has faced many challenges throughout the years, but the difficulty of regulating what is said and posted online is more significant now.

So, what is technology doing to protect the community? Here are some efforts brands and tech companies are making:

Apps, such as GeoSure, provide information about safe spaces and neighborhoods that are LGBT+ friendly.

Tinder prevents profiles of the LGBT+ community from showing such preference in countries and jurisdictions where there are banning or restriction for people who identify as part of the cited community.

LGBT+ Experience is a website whose purpose is to answer any question raised regarding the LGBT+ community, such as sexuality, gender, and sexual orientation, in a safe space free of judgment or violence that provides answers to questions such as why some people find gender-reveal parties offensive and why some people identify as non-binary and how they should be addressed.

Creation of content, such as movies, series, and cartoons with LGBT+ characters.

Elon Musk finally announces he “does not believe in crypto anymore.”

Aside from the usual Elon Musk rants where he goes from supporting newcomers in the crypto universe to dismissing cryptocurrencies, he has now declared he will sell all his cryptocurrencies and will no longer use such currency.

The reason? Maybe it is a very unexpected one. He says the crypto market is damaging the environment at a breakneck pace.

Although his concern about the environment is less drastic while making space trips, he has found a great way of escaping some of his commitments and previous support brilliantly; in the name of the environment.

OK, we made this one up, although based on the many times Mr. Musk has been the subject of outrageous headlines lately, he might require his own dedicated 5+1 Fun Facts section.

Ana Cisneros
IP Attorney |
Litigation, Copyright
Ana is part of Iberbrand®’s professional team. Intellectual property has always been her passion. She is in charge of Iberbrand®´s “5+1 Fun Facts” editorial section.
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