A US startup skateboarder clothing company has been criticised and mocked on Twitter for its choice of brand name: Impact Reduction Apparel, or IRA for short.
The Belfast Telegraph reports that the company was forced to distance itself from any connection with the Irish Republican Army paramilitary group, tweeting on Thursday: “Impact Reduction Apparel is who we are. We have no affiliation with ANY terror groups. We make products that keep people safe.”
The company had been the target of hundreds of tweets, mostly from Irish Twitter users, poking fun at the brand name, while some deemed it “offensive.” @IRA_Apparel even started trending in some parts of Ireland on Thursday, according to Trendsmap.
It’s not entirely clear why IRA Apparel suddenly became the target of Twitter users this week. The company, which is based in San Francisco and appears to specialize in skateboarding helmets, according to its website, first set up its Twitter account in September. The brand has also been busy on Instagram since September. IRA Apparel’s products cannot be bought directly from its website, and it’s unlikely Ireland is one of its target markets.
This is not the first time a brand has come under criticism for using a name, or product names, that could potentially offend those affected by The Troubles in Northern Ireland.
Nike was slammed in 2012 for releasing a sneaker called “Black and Tan,” which also shares a name with an infamous paramilitary force that committed atrocities against civilians during the War of Independence in Ireland.
And Kia was forced in 2013 to pull its planned “Provo” car. Provo was a name often used to refer to the Provisional IRA during The Troubles.
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