Clothing retailer Urban Outfitters makes trendy and vintage-style clothing for teens and young adults, but its latest offering doesn’t appear to be popular with any age group. Sunday night, the internet noticed when a “vintage” Kent State University sweatshirt went on sale on the company’s website for $129. It wasn’t the ridiculous price that sparked attention but the appearance of blood splatter and stains on the light-colored sweatshirt.
Though many in Urban Outfitters’ customer base are too young to remember, in 1970, four unarmed students at Kent State were fatally shot by the Ohio National Guard during an anti-war protest.
After an officer shot and killed Michael Brown, “police brutality” is a hot topic in the media, and it seems like Urban Outfitters jumped on the bandwagon, in a terrible way.
Of course, everyone but Urban Outfitters found the shirt offensive. Even liberal media like Mediate and Huffington Post called the shirt “a new low” for the controversial clothing company.
After offending nearly everybody, Urban Outfitters promptly removed the shirt from its site and tweeted out an apology, claiming it was just a misunderstanding:
Urban Outfitters sincerely apologizes for any offense our Vintage Kent State Sweatshirt may have caused. It (cont) http://t.co/o3oKyPJFu8— Urban Outfitters (@UrbanOutfitters) September 15, 2014
However, the apology wasn’t well received. Twitter users called the attempted excuse “unacceptable,” “lame,” “fake” and “irresponsible” among other things. Many people scoffed at the company’s claim of the shirt’s colors and stains as being “unintentional,” accusing the company of intentionally causing offense.
Kent State also responded, saying, “We take great offense to a company using our pain for their publicity and profit. This item is beyond poor taste and trivializes a loss of life that still hurts the Kent State community today.”
The company's bad taste is hardly surprising. It's managed to make shirts and novelty products making light of the Holocaust, Jews, Jesus, Catholic saints, depression and suicide, among other things.