As I prepared to get this blog ready for a new semester, I came across this: Urban Outfitters has apologized for selling a Kent State University sweat shirt that some feel was made to look bloodied. If you don’t know, Kent State was the site of a student Vietnam War protest on May 4, 1970, in which four student protestors were killed by members of the Ohio National Guard. The Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph of the shooting (below) was taken by Kent State student John Filo.
According to NBC News, this was the company’s response: “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.” The shirt had been selling online for $129. Perhaps one Twitter user said it best: “Nothing says young and hip like a 43 year old massacre.” This reminds me of another case involving a massacre, La Señorita Mexican Restaurants.
Do you believe the contents of this statement, or not? Was the company’s response satisfactory?