Levi’s Slammed For Referencing AIDS Memorial Quilt To Sell Jeans

Image courtesy of Levi’s

While it’s always refreshing to see big companies trying to do their part to give back to their customers and support important social issues, sometimes these efforts hit the wrong note. To wit: Levi’s is facing backlash on social media over a Tweet promoting its upcoming Pride collection.

“Sneak a peek at our 2017 #LevisPride Collection, inspired by the AIDS Memorial Quilt. Coming soon,” Levi’s posted on both Facebook and Twitter yesterday, showing a photo with the Levi’s brand name stitched on a bandana.

Though the reaction on Facebook appears to be mostly supportive, some Twitter users were upset at the brand tying in the AIDS Memorial Quilt which was created in 1987 as a memorial and a way to spread awareness of the disease’s devastating impact. It now includes more than 48,000 individual panels commemorating the life of someone who has died of AIDS.

Many Twitter users have accused the San Francisco-based company of referencing the quilt just for Levis’ benefit:

Levi’s has donated proceeds from its Pride Collection in the past to the Harvey Milk Foundation, prompting many Twitter users to ask the company how much of the profits from this collection will go toward the non-profit (Update below: The company confirmed to Consumerist that 100% of the proceeds from this year’s collection will benefit the Harvey Milk Foundation and Stonewall Community Foundation):

Some just flat out didn’t like it:

UPDATE: A Levi Strauss & Co. spokeswoman told Consumerist in a statement that the company has been “a longstanding, vocal supporter of LGBTQ equality,” and confirmed that 100% of proceeds from the PRIDE collection are donated to support its LGBTQ partner organizations.

This year, the proceeds will benefit the Harvey Milk Foundation and Stonewall Community Foundation, she noted.

“This year’s collection was inspired by the AIDS Memorial Quilt. In 1988, LS&Co. employees added their panel to the quilt as a tribute to their colleagues and friends,” she said in the statement. “Our designers drew inspiration from that moment in designing this year’s collection – a reminder that we can never forget the people, including our friends and colleagues in the LGBTQ community, who lost their lives to this devastating disease. For more than 30 years, we’ve been supporting organizations dedicated to fighting HIV/AIDS and we’ve contributed more than $70 million in grants to HIV/AIDS organizations in more than 40 countries.”