Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show Protesters Discarding Zara Clothes In Response To Alleged Controversial Ad Campaign

Fact Check

  • by: Rebaz Majeed
Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show Protesters Discarding Zara Clothes In Response To Alleged Controversial Ad Campaign Eco Activism

Does a video on TikTok depict protesters throwing Zara clothes into the street in protest of a controversial ad campaign that supposedly disrespects Palestinian deaths? No, that's not true: The video is unrelated to the Hamas-Israel conflict and the devastation in the Gaza Strip. It's part of a campaign by Vestiaire Collective named "Think First, Buy Second," which aims to protest the fashion industry's overproduction and overconsumption, and the textile waste problem on the planet.

The claim appeared in a video (archived here) on TikTok by @dinnemk on December 12, 2023. The text overlay (translated from Arabic to English by Lead Stories staff) read:

Americans in New York are tossing Zara clothes in the streets to protest the company allegedly humiliating Palestinians.

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2023-12-14 at 11.49.00.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Thu Dec 14 10:49:00 2023 UTC)

Many of the videos of the protest on TikTok that have gone viral were reposted from a video (archived here) on TikTok on November 16, 2023, by @vestiairecollective, an online platform specializing in second-hand fashion.

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:Screenshot 2023-12-15 at 11.25.23.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Fri Dec 15 10:25:23 2023 UTC)

Vestiaire Collective has also shared the video on their official website with the following caption:

Fast fashion is fuelling overconsumption and overproduction, and it's the number one cause of our planet's textile waste problem.
We want that to change.

Following the launch of a controversial ad campaign by multinational retail clothing chain Zara, the claim has gained widespread media attention, as seen here, here and here. The campaign sparked significant criticism from both critics and activists who contend that the images resemble scenes from the Gaza Strip during the Hamas-Israel conflict that began on October 7, 2023.

In a report (archived here) published on December 12, 2023, titled "Zara pulls controversial ad campaign that critics said evoked Gaza war," CNN wrote:

The advertising images for a line of jackets, posted earlier this month to Zara's official social media channels, featured rubble, ripped plaster and mannequins wrapped in plastic. One picture showed a model holding a mannequin shrouded in white, which social media users said was reminiscent of a corpse.

This is one of the images from Zara's controversial ad campaign:


(Source: CNN screenshot taken on Fri Dec 15 10:09:43 2023 UTC)

Later, Zara removed the images from their social media accounts and issued a statement (archived here) on Instagram, claiming that the images were photographed before the beginning of the Hamas-Israel conflict on October 7, 2023, expressing regret for any misunderstanding.

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  Rebaz Majeed

Rebaz Majeed is a fact-checker at Lead Stories. He is a multilingual freelance journalist and researcher. He worked for five years as a reporter for Voice of America (VOANews) in Iraq. Currently, he is pursuing his MA in Interdisciplinary Studies of the Middle East at Free Berlin University. Rebaz brings extensive knowledge and expertise to his role at LeadStories.

Read more about or contact Rebaz Majeed

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