Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
Urban Outfitters has a long history of selling cultural offensive items on their site and pulling them once enough people protest (remember drunk Jesus?). The company reached a new low this morning when the media spotted a "vintage" Kent State sweatshirt for sale spattered with what looked an awful lot like fake blood. The Kent State campus was the scene of a fatal rally that resulted in the deaths of four students in 1970.
A few hours after the images of the sweatshirt were noticed, Kent State issued a response to the atrocity. "We take great offense to a company using our pain for their publicity and profit," the university said in a statement posted to their website. "This item is beyond poor taste and trivializes a loss of life that still hurts the Kent State community today."
As expected, Urban Outfitters pulled the sweatshirt and posted an apology via Twitter:
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.
According to their statement, Kent State has invited UO executives to their May 4 Visitors Center to educate them on the violence that took place on the campus.
· Urban Outfitters Features "Vintage" Red-Stained Kent State Sweatshirt [Buzzfeed]
· Urban Outfitters Apologizes for Putting Hindu God on a Sock [Racked]
· Urban Outfitters CEO Says Brand Has Been Full of Misses [Racked]