Katy Perry has responded to accusations that two pairs of shoes from her accessories line resemble blackface.
On Monday, TMZ reported that the Rue Face Slip On Loafers and the Ora Face Block Heel Sandals from Katy Perry Collections were “in the process” of being pulled from stores after people online accused the two designs of looking like blackface.
In a joint statement emailed to INSIDER, Perry and Global Brands Group, which the singer partnered with to create Katy Perry Collections, confirmed the shoes have immediately been removed from the line’s website.
The Rue loafers and Ora sandals, which were both available in black, featured leather uppers embellished with identical 3D eyes, a gold triangle “nose,” and bright-red lips.
On social media, some said the shoes’ design evoked blackface, the racist act of nonblack people applying makeup to imitate caricatures of black people based on dehumanizing stereotypes. In the US, the use of blackface has a racist history that dates back to the 1830s.
In their joint statement, Perry and Global Brands Group said that the two shoes were part of a collection that was released in summer 2018 in nine different colors: black, blue, gold, graphite, lead, nude, pink, red, and silver.
According to their joint statement, the collection was “envisioned as a nod to modern art and surrealism.”
“I was saddened when it was brought to my attention that it was being compared to painful images reminiscent of blackface,” Perry and Global Brands Group continued in their statement. “Our intention was never to inflict any pain.”
Katy Perry Collections, which debuted in 2016 and launched in 2017, sells shoes and handbags “designed 100% by” the singer, according to the brand’s About Us page.
Read the full joint statement from Katy Perry and Global Brands Group below:
“The Rue and The Ora were part of a collection that was released last summer in 9 different colorways (black, blue, gold, graphite, lead, nude, pink, red, silver) and envisioned as a nod to modern art and surrealism. I was saddened when it was brought to my attention that it was being compared to painful images reminiscent of blackface. Our intention was never to inflict any pain. We have immediately removed them from Katy Perry Collection.”