Brazilian fashion brand FARM Rio has apologized after encouraging its followers to use a discount code to pay tribute to Kathlen Romeu, a 24-year-old interior designer and influencer who died after being shot on Tuesday, according to the Guardian.
Romeu, who announced on Instagram that she was pregnant days before her death, was struck by a single bullet during a police shoot-out in Rio de Janeiro’s Lins de Vasconcelos favela, where there has been growing unrest between police and drug gangs, the Guardian reported.
In a tribute posted on Thursday to FARM Rio’s Instagram account, which has 1.5 million followers, the brand used the hashtag #JustiçaporKathlen to raise awareness of Romeu’s death.
The post’s caption originally encouraged people to shop using the code “E957” and said the profits would be donated to Romeu’s family, a detail that has now been removed, according to Diet Prada, an Instagram account that seeks to expose wrongdoings in the fashion world and has amassed 2.7 million followers.
Diet Prada shared an Instagram post on Thursday calling out the brand for using the model’s death to encourage shopping.
At the time of writing, the caption on FARM Rio’s post now reads: “We deeply regret that our dear Kathlen Romeu and the baby she was 14 weeks pregnant with were the target of yet another intolerable episode of urban violence yesterday in our city.”
It continues: “We know nothing we do can bring Kath back, but we’re committed to further accelerating our processes of inclusion and racial equity to change the cruel statistics that take young Black lives like Kath’s every 23 minutes in our country.”
“Kath and her baby’s lives matter. Black lives matter. Here, today, always. Change is urgent,” the post concluded.
The company shared a second Instagram post hours later publicly apologizing for the discount code. It acknowledged the “seriousness of what this act represented” and, along with removing the code, vowed to “continue to support the family.”
Representatives for FARM Rio did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
According to the Guardian, the death of another young Black favela resident as a result of the police’s “so-called war on drug gangs” weighed heavily on locals, who came together to demonstrate on Wednesday.
The report said that residents and demonstrators blocked traffic while calling for justice and holding signs that read: “We want peace.”
The Associated Press reports that a Supreme Court ruling from June 2020 meant that police interference in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas was limited to “absolutely exceptional” action during the pandemic. It added that despite this, figures by a Brazilian data project Crossfire show that more than 4,500 events were recorded, resulting in 100 people hit by stray bullets.
The Associated Press report also pointed to Crossfire data that found six pregnant women have been hit by stray bullets in the last five years, adding that Romeu was the first out of this number to die.
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