Urban Outfitters is facing a public backlash for selling a “Vintage Kent State Sweatshirt” that is spattered with red stains resembling blood.
The $US129 sweatshirt caused an uproar on Twitter late Sunday and Kent State University responded early Monday.
“We take great offence to a company using our pain for their publicity and profit” the university said, Cleveland.com reports. “This item is beyond poor taste and trivializes a loss of life that still hurts the Kent State community today.”
The sweatshirt is reminiscent of the “Kent State Massacre” in May 1970, when four unarmed college students were killed by the Ohio National Guard during a Vietnam War protest.
“May 4, 1970, was a watershed moment for the country and especially the Kent State family,” the university’s statement continues. “We lost four students that day while nine others were wounded and countless others were changed forever. 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 years ago, to gain perspective on what happened 44 years ago and apply its meaning to the future.”
Urban Outfitters apologized on social media.
“Urban Outfitters sincerely apologizes for any offence our Vintage Kent State Sweatshirt may have caused,” the company said. “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.”
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