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Shoppers accuse Forever 21 of body-shaming over freebie sent with plus-size orders

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Forever 21 is apologizing after angry shoppers complained that the clothing company shipped plus-size garment orders with an unwanted surprise: free Atkins bars.

“From time to time, Forever 21 surprises our customers with free test products from third parties in their e-commerce orders. The freebie items in question were included in all online orders, across all sizes and categories, for a limited time and have since been removed,” Forever 21 said, according to BuzzFeed. “This was an oversight on our part and we sincerely apologize for any offense this may have caused to our customers, as this was not our intention in any way.”

The apology came after a flood of messages on Twitter accused the company of body shaming, many including pictures of the bars. According to Eater, “the lemon bar sent with the order is part of Atkins’ snack collection, which they advertise as a way to ‘stick with your low carb diet,’ a trend driven by Atkins and peaking sometime around 2003.”

Twitter posts about the bars appear to have begun popping up in the last several days.

“What are you trying to Tell me Forever 21, I’m FAT, LOSE WEIGHT?” one Twitter user wrote on July 19, asking the company if it gives “these to NON-PLUS SIZE WOMEN as well?”

A Forever 21 representative tried to explain the Atkins partnership further in a statement to the New York Post, according to the publication.

“Today’s Atkins is focused on a lifestyle nutritional approach where everyone can benefit from overall health and wellbeing,” the statement said, per the Post. “Our brand evolution is reflected in the current marketing efforts to highlight the health benefits of eating a low carb/low sugar Atkins lifestyle, with a portfolio of nutritious and delicious snacks for everyone.”

The clothing maker also faced scrutiny this week over some bike shorts it was selling that said “Fake News” on them, according to USA Today.

Atkins offered comment on the controversy as well.

“The intention of sampling Atkins products is to share snacks that taste great with optimal nutritional benefit,” Atkins said in a statement, USA Today reports.

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Jared Gilmour is a McClatchy national reporter based in San Francisco. He covers everything from health and science to politics and crime. He studied journalism at Northwestern University and grew up in North Dakota.
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