You might soon be able to use Beyonce and Kathy Lee Gifford’s names in the same sentence (outside of the occasional Tumblr fanfic). King Bey is under fire for allegedly using sweatshop labor to create her Ivy Park athletic wear line.
According to a report by English newspaper The Sun, some of the pieces in Beyonce’s 228-option strong clothing line are made in a factory in Sri Lanka where workers make a little over $6 per day. The report also claims that the workers work ten hour days, six days a week, and live in small boarding houses near the factory.
The wage levels aren’t illegal in Sri Lanka. Workers make roughly $276 a month which is above the minimum wage of $112 a month for skilled industrial workers. If the sweatshop-like conditions alleged by The Sun are true, however, then it stands in stark contrast to the brand image Beyonce is attempting to portray.
She has repeatedly pitched the brand as centering around female empowerment, and having women working in such terrible conditions to make the clothing would be in counter to that message.
“When they talk about women and empowerment, this is just for the foreigners,” an anonymous worker told The Sun. “They want the foreigners to think everything is okay.”
Beyonce’s team didn’t outright deny the allegations, but they heavily implied that they don’t source their clothes from unethical operations.
“Ivy Park has a rigorous ethical trading program. We are proud of our sustained efforts in terms of factory inspections and audits, and our teams worldwide work very closely with our suppliers and their factories to ensure compliance,” they told Vogue UK. “We expect our suppliers to meet our code of conduct and we support them in achieving these requirements.”