Katy Perry has been left “saddened” after accusations of “blackface” were levelled against two designs from her shoe range.
The US pop superstar’s Rue Face Slip On Loafers and Ora Face Block Heel Sandals, which feature blue eyes, a gold nose and red lips, have been removed from websites after a fierce backlash.
“I was saddened when it was brought to my attention that it was being compared to painful images reminiscent of blackface,” Perry said in a statement.
“Our intention was never to inflict any pain. We have immediately removed them.”
Perry said the shoes were “envisioned as a nod to modern art and surrealism”.
The Roar singer came under fire online, with one critic tweeting: “If you have to second guess whether a design is blackface/racist...it probably is.”
Another wrote: “Sooooooo.....Katy Perry's company is supposedly pulling shoes off of the shelves which NEVER should've been created. If you don't have a black decision maker on your team, especially in product development and marketing you risk irreparable brand damage. #DIVERSITY #DIVERSITYMATTERS.”
Others defended Perry, with one claiming the designs were a “Mr and Mrs Potato Head ripoff” – two characters made popular by the Toy Story franchise.
The shoes were part of a Katy Perry Collection which launched last summer.
The backlash comes days after Gucci was forced to apologise for a $890 black balaclava jumper which many claimed “resembled blackface”.
The item, which covered the lower half of the face and featured a red cut-out around the mouth, was removed from sale.