Fashion designer Virgil Abloh issued a lengthy statement on Monday in response to criticism of his earlier remarks about people looting stores amid protests over the death of George Floyd, a Black man killed by a white police officer.
Abloh also addressed those who slammed him on social media for donating $50 to bail funds for protesters, saying he’s actually donated much more.
Over the weekend, the founder of the fashion label Off-White posted a message on Instagram denouncing the “kids that ransacked” his friend Sean Wotherspoon’s Round Two Vintage store and his own stores in Los Angeles.
“This is so fucked up. You see the passion, blood, sweat and tears Sean puts in for our culture. This disgusts me,” Abloh said in since-deleted comments, which can be seen here:
In a separate post, which showed damage at the RSVP Gallery in Chicago, Abloh wrote (per The New York Times): “Today that same community robbed us. If that heals your pain, you can have it.”
On Monday, Abloh posted a lengthy explanation and apology to his followers, attempting to clarify his position on the damaged stores and those who stole from them.
He said that he felt “sick that George Floyd and generations of black people have been unjustly killed by the police” and that he was “proud to stand in solidarity with every movement to eradicate racism and police violence.”
“Yesterday I spoke about how my stores and stores of friends were looted. I apologize that it seemed like my concern for those stores outweighed my concern for our right to protest injustice and express our anger and rage in this moment,” he wrote.
In addition, Abloh, who is also artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear, offered up an explanation for that $50 donation to bail funds and for posting about it. Screenshots of the donation had quickly gone viral on Twitter, where many pointed out that $50 was far less than the cost of many products from Off-White.
“I also joined a social media chain of friends who were matching $50 donations. I apologize that appeared to some as if that was my only donation to these important causes,” Abloh explained, adding that he has donated $20,500 to bail funds ― and additional money to related causes.
“I will continue to donate more and will continue to use my voice to urge peers to do the same,” he said. “I was on the fence about publicizing total dollar amounts because I didn’t want to look like I’m glorifying only higher amounts or that I want to be applauded for it. If you know me, you know that’s not me.”