Urban Outfitters' 'blood-splattered' Kent State shirt prompts outrage
Early in the wee hours of the morning, Urban Outfitters found themselves caught in yet another clothing controversy in the form of a “vintage” Kent State sweatshirt. The shirt appeared to be splattered with what many Twitter users presumed to be blood, relevant because of a 1970 shooting at the Ohio university.
In January, Urban Outfitters, a hipster-style retailer owned by Philly company URBN, came under fire for a shirt with the word "depression" printed all over it. The top, designed by a brand called Depression, was subsequently pulled.
In 2010, a top that said "Eat Less," thought to encourage eating disorders, prompted actress Sophia Bush to boycott the store.
And who can forget the infamous "Ghettopoly" board game — a cheap play on the classic game Monopoly with "ghetto" elements like "Hustle" playing cards and a central image of a man holding a gun and a bottle of alcohol. Needless to say, that rousing rendition didn't go over to well with many Americans.
Early in the wee hours of Monday morning, Urban Outfitters found themselves caught in yet another clothing controversy in the form of a "vintage" Kent State sweatshirt. The shirt appeared to be splattered with what many Twitter users presumed to be blood, referencing the 1970 shooting at the Ohio university.
Four students were killed and nine others were injured when an Army National Guard Unit shot at students protesting the Vietnam War.
Twitter users took notice to the shirt and immediately began expressing their disgust.
This morning, Kent State issued a statement regarding the sweatshirt in yet another display of social media's powerful ability to bring issues to the forefront. The university said:
May 4, 1970, was a watershed moment for the country and especially the Kent State family. We lost four students that day while nine others were wounded and countless others were changed forever.
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.
We invite the leaders of this company as well as anyone who invested in this item to tour our May 4 Visitors Center, which opened two year ago, to gain perspective on what happened 44 years ago and apply its meaning to the future.
According to Buzzfeed, the one-of-a-kind, $129 sweatshirt was "sold out" as of 2:15 a.m.
Basically, yes, Myles Vine.
An Ebay listing for the sweatshirt posted at about 6 a.m. listed the piece for $2,500 and has garnered two bids by the same bidder for $550. The poster said they will donate 50% of the profit to The Southern Poverty Law Center "who protect those who cannot protect themselves, often those who are victims of police brutality."
Urban Outfitters has tweeted an apology stating that the bright red spots were holes and discoloration from natural wear.
Urban Outfitters sincerely apologizes for any offense our Vintage Kent State Sweatshirt may have caused. It was never our intention to allude to the tragic events that took place at Kent State in 1970 and we are extremely saddened that this item was perceived as such. The one-of-a-kind item was purchased as part of our sun-faded vintage collection. There is no blood on this shirt nor has this item been altered in any way. The red stains are discoloration from the original shade of the shirt and the holes are from natural wear and fray. Again, we deeply regret that this item was perceived negatively and we have removed it immediately from our website to avoid further upset.