IKEA’s annual catalog will be late this year because it contains an image that the company believes could be considered racist.
Quartz reports that the image in question features a young black man that has a leg cast and finger sprint, working on assembling a coffee table.
The picture's controversy comes from the sequence of numbers located on his shirt's back that can appear to some as the serial numbers on a prison inmate's uniform.
With that in mind, this could be seen as perpetuating a negative stereotype for Black people.
In a statement to Quartz, IKEA explained why it was so eager to recall the catalogs.“After reviewing the photo, we agree that it could lend itself to negative interpretation and reinforce negative stereotypes. ”As a purpose-led organization where diversity and inclusion are core values, IKEA strives to be a force for positive change in society.”
“An important part of advocating for change is acknowledging and taking action when we get it wrong,” IKEA continued. “We are committed to doing so in an open and transparent way.”
Elsewhere in their statement, IKEA explained that the numbers on the shirt were “intended only as a design detail.” In a corrected digital edition of the catalog, the controversial image has been replaced by a black man that is trying to understand how to put together furniture.
Corrected editions of the 2021 catalog will be available at US stores before the end of the year. Quartz reports that the print run will just have pages 133 and 134 (which feature the image) removed.