New York & Co Pulled Necklace Resembling A Noose From Stores

Last week, as New York & Company employees were unpacking stock at their Lexington Avenue store, they noticed a new accessory with an unsavory history. Former employee Amber Thomas shared an image of what the retailer called "the Y-necklace," a rose gold chain with several coils fashioned like a noose. "Everyone who saw the item recoiled and couldn't believe the company had authorized such offensive merchandise," she wrote in a caption accompanying the photo. "It’s common knowledge that the noose has always been a deadly weapon and a symbol of intimidation used by white supremacist hate groups like the Klu Klux Klan all over the country to take the lives of African-Americans and those that worked for equality and freedom."
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#linkinbio — What does this look like to you? — On October 17, employees at the @nyandcompany at the Lexington Avenue flagship location noticed a new accessory item on the store shelves. It was made of several rose gold ropes and fashioned into what was very clearly a noose. Everyone who saw the item recoiled and couldn't believe the company had authorized such offensive merchandise. It’s common knowledge that the noose has always been a deadly weapon and a symbol of intimidation used by white supremacist hate groups like the klu klux klan all over the country to take the lives of African Americans and those that worked for equality and freedom. Hangings and lynchings haven't ceased in this country, and the current climate makes tactics of intimidation all the more apparent. A large number of NY&Co's employees and customer clientele are individuals of color - even the celebrity models are women of color, @gabunion and @evamendes. The store managers at the Lexington Ave location agreed that the item was offensive and removed it from the floor. We called and wrote NY&Co Human Resources, Customer Service and even Loss Prevention to no avail. We can't wait. Nooses are being sold. We demand that this item, called the "y-necklace" in the merchandising system, be removed from all of the NY&Co shelves nationwide and be recalled to be destroyed immediately. We demand that NY&Co demonstrate more responsibility as a company. Nooses are not accessories. Tactics of fear and intimidation will not be sold as novelty necklaces, no matter who leads this country. If New York and Company truly values its employees and consumers, we demand that they prove it. #NYCoNoose #DoBetterNYCo

A post shared by Amber N. Thomas (@iamambernthomas) on

Further, Thomas noted, "hangings and lynchings haven't ceased in this country, and the current climate makes tactics of intimidation all the more apparent." She goes on to explain that a large number of New York & Company's employees are people of color, and the brand also works with models of color, like Gabrielle Union and Eva Mendes. The location that Thomas worked at removed the item, but she and her co-workers want the necklace pulled from the system all together.
"Nooses are not accessories," Thomas continued in her post. "Tactics of fear and intimidation will not be sold as novelty necklaces, no matter who leads this country. If New York & Company truly values its employees and consumers, we demand that they prove it." Thomas resigned from her job, started a petition on Change.org and on Wednesday, and later updated her followers that New York would indeed pull the necklace.
Thomas said her manager promised to support her in helping get the necklaces removed across the company. She also shared the apology New York & Co sent to her via direct message. "I’m so glad they are acting swiftly! I hope that this never happens again and I encourage others to be vigilant with situations like these! Speak up! Don’t ever let it go unnoticed!"
On Thursday, New York & Co sent the following statement via email to Refinery29: "Inclusivity and diversity are two core values that we honor and celebrate at New York & Company. These values extend to all of our employees and customers. As with all of our merchandise, our intention is never to offend and we apologize for any offense this product has caused. We empathize with the strong emotions this necklace has raised and we have removed it from all stores."
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