Katy Perry 'saddened' by blackface claims about her shoe range

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Katy PerryImage source, Getty Images

Katy Perry has removed two items from her shoe range after complaints that one of the designs was racist.

Katy says she is "saddened" that her design - blue eyes and red lips on black leather - was compared with "painful images" of blackface by critics online.

The shoes have reportedly also been taken off shelves at US retailers.

Katy says the shoes, The Rue and The Ora, were "envisioned as a nod to modern art and surrealism".

Image source, Katy Perry Collections
Image caption,
The Rue model of shoe from Katy Perry Collections

Blackface is a centuries-old practice rooted in depicting a negative stereotype of black people in Europe and the US.

White actors would paint their faces black and play caricatures of black people.

"I was saddened when it was brought to my attention that it was being compared to painful images reminiscent of blackface," Katy says in a statement.

"Our intention was never to inflict any pain. We have immediately removed them."

The shoes that offended some people were part of a Katy Perry Collection launched last summer which was sold in US stores such as Dillard's and Walmart.

They were also available in blue, gold, graphite, lead, nude, pink, red and silver, according to a statement by Global, the company Katy Perry is in partnership with.

In the UK they're available through Amazon, but neither The Rue or The Ora are on sale.

Last week, Gucci was forced to pull a jumper from its new collection after similar accusations about blackface.

Image source, Gucci/Spring

Fashion designer Suril Patel thinks that fashion companies and houses are creating products "on purpose just to spark the controversy".

"More sensitive subjects are more likely to be shared wider," the 25-year-old told the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire Programme.

"Off the back of that they're going to get more traffic to their website and make more sales."

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