Women’s charity rejects $20,000 from under-fire fashion firm Revolve
A women’s charity has rejected a $20,000 donation from a US fashion retailer because of controversy over a raft-up organised on a marketing trip to the island.
The Women’s Resource Centre was offered the cash on Tuesday by “an individual” who did not mention their association with online store Revolve.
But after the charity established the offer was made on behalf of Revolve, it turned the cash down.
Tina Laws, the executive director of the WRC, said: “The Women’s Resource Centre is stringent about vetting all donation requests to ensure that they are in alignment with our mission to empower women.
“The individual can now confirm that the donation was from Revolve.
“We agree, now that we have looked them up, that their business is in alignment with our mission to empower women.”
But Ms Laws said: “We are also aware of the controversy around their recent visit to Bermuda and do not wish to be associated with it.
“Under these circumstances, we have declined the offer.”
Revolve was involved in a raft-up last week attended by about 70 models and social media influencers as well as musician Shaggy.
The event was organised by island events company Dasfete.
But raft-ups were illegal under Covid-19 regulations and the event is under investigation by police.
Dasfete later claimed that the Government and Bermuda Tourism Authority were aware of the event.
A statement from Victoria Greening, a lawyer, on behalf of Dasfete, said the raft-up was “not for recreational purposes, but rather a staged commercial event under the auspices, permission and knowledge of the Bermuda Tourism Authority and other relevant Government departments with the view to promoting and marketing Bermuda”.
But David Burt, the Premier, denied that the Government authorised the event.
Revolve did not respond to a series of questions on the row.
But a report on online fashion website www.glossy.co said Revolve had e-mailed it a statement that insisted the firm and Dasfete had stuck to the rules.
Revolve said it was “aware that recreational raft-ups are currently not allowed to take place and adhered to all rules, regulations, and safety measures put in place by The Minister of National Security’s office”.
The statement added: “Marine Police were present throughout the day and no Covid breaches were raised when visiting the location and taking the information regarding our exemption.
“The two boats were strategically staged only during the performance, for atmospheric marketing purposes, and no guests were allowed on the boats to avoid contact with those boat operators – who were also either vaccinated or tested within three days prior to the event.”
The online magazine added that Revolve would give $20,000 to the WRC and also donate clothes to a Department of Child and Family Services “girl’s home”.
A spokeswoman for the social development and seniors ministry said: “Whilst an offer has been made no donation has yet been received.”