Katy Perry pulls shoes criticized for resembling blackface, says never intended to cause 'pain'

The shoes featured blue eyes, a gold triangular nose, and bright red lips. The black versions drew criticism online.
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By Janelle Griffith

Katy Perry Collections has pulled from its website two shoe designs that some said resembled blackface.

Dillard's and Walmart also appear to have removed links to the items — slip-on loafers and block-heel sandals — from their websites Monday.

The loafers were sold in neutral and black, and the high-heeled sandals in gold and black. Both designs featured blue eyes, a gold triangular nose, and bright red lips. Some on social media took exception with the black versions.

A representative for the singer told NBC News on Monday that the shoes were part of a collection that was released last summer in nine different shades (black, blue, gold, graphite, lead, nude, pink, red and silver) and were "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 said. "Our intention was never to inflict any pain."

The shoe has been removed from the Katy Perry Collections website on behalf of Perry and Global Brands Group, the representative said.

"The Rue Slip On Loafer" from the Katy Perry brand.Katy Perry via Dillards

The shoes were available on the websites of both Dillard's and Walmart on Monday morning, but links to them appeared to have been taken down by the afternoon.

Neither Dillard's nor Walmart responded to requests for comment from NBC News.

The incident comes only days after Gucci stopped selling a black-knit women's sweater that was denounced by social media users as resembling blackface. The $890 sweater could be pulled up over the lower half of the wearer’s face and included an opening for the mouth with wide red lips.

The Italian company released a statement Wednesday saying it "deeply apologizes for the offense caused."

Prada came under fire in December for a similar misstep and apologized for bag charms and window displays featuring monkey-like characters with outsize red lips that were criticized as racist.

Janelle Griffith

Janelle Griffith is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.