Prank Exposes GAP’s Poor Response To Fatal Bangladesh Fire

The families of the fire victims have not been properly compensated. Should it take a prank to get GAP to act?

The 2012 Bangladesh garment factory fire, which claimed the lives of more than 100 people, was the deadliest in the history of country. The incident renewed the debate of worker security in Bangladesh and caused labor rights groups to demand adequate safety measures for garment workers.

However, not enough appropriate actions were taken and Bangladesh suffered another garment factory fire in October, which claimed the lives of 10 workers and injured many.

To draw attention to the fact that the families of these workers were not compensated properly, 18MillionRising, a group advocating the rights of Asian workers, created a hoax organization, Gap Does More, to pose as the clothing retailer.

Using the platform, they released a fake press release claiming to donate money to the victims of the Aswad Composite Mills fire. It read, “We are committed to compensating the families of those who have lost their lives and those injured in our supply chain. Just as we provided compensation following the That’s It Sportswear fire in December 2010, we will be providing $200,000 in compensation to those affected by the Aswad Composite Mills fire in October 2013.”

Gap proceeded to release its own statement calling the website a hoax. However, the damage had been done. The prank was a subtle parody and it successfully managed to bring the situation of the workers into the limelight.

According to a statement on the 18MillionRising’s website following the closure of Gap Does More, “Gap Inc. has proven that it is more willing to villainize a small nonprofit organization with a staff of only three than it is to step up to the plate and answer hard questions about the way the company treats the very people who sustain the business.”