According to the company, IKEA will update its 2021 catalog with an illustration that could perpetuate devastating racial stereotypes.
The essential catalog included a full-page image of a young black man near a coffee table; he was wearing a T-shirt with a series of figures on his back. IKEA employee drew the company's attention because the inscription resembled the serial numbers worn by prison inmates.
IKEA explained that the numbers "were conceived only as a design detail." Still, after checking with the company, they agreed that the photo could be interpreted negatively and reinforce negative stereotypes. It delayed the release of the latest catalog from the Swedish furniture giant, originally due to enter American stores this year. The corrected editions will be available at U.S. stores later this year.
At the same time, IKEA will not republish catalogs but tear out the "bad" pages from the 296-page books. However, the document's digital edition has been fixed: the same guy can be seen in other clothes.
IKEA regrets that the ambiguous illustration appeared in the catalog. The company added that the incident did not happen intentionally. IKEA will try to make sure that this does not happen again. They commented: "Racism, prejudice, and hatred have no place in IKEA, and we condemn them in the strongest possible terms."