Urban Outfitters Bashed for Kent State Clothing Line
Urban Outfitters has again come under fire, but this time it’s because of a “vintage” blood stained Kent State sweatshirt for sale on their website. The sweatshirt, which is no longer available on the site, was advertised as being “one-of-a-kind” and was being sold for $129.99. The shirt is tattered and stained, muddied and faded. It’s speckled red spots near the heart and near the hem. Given its “vintage” titling, it was supposedly Urban Outfitter’s goal to assert a connection to the 1970 campus shooting that left four Kent State students dead. Urban Outfitters said that the red spots were not blood but a “discoloration from the original shade of the shirt.”
This morning Kent State released a statement. “We take great offense to a company using our pain for their publicity and profit," the school wrote. "This item is beyond poor taste and trivializes a loss of life that still hurts the Kent State community today.”
The Kent State Massacre
In 1970, protests of the Vietnam War were everywhere. Most were fairly peaceful but some were tinged with anger and violence. Kent State had a surplus of 500 protestors, mostly students, who had taken to smaller acts such as bonfires and burying the Constitution in effigy. However, as the weekend ran long, and more protesters, including vagrants, bikers, and assorted derelicts, arrived, police were dispatched to keep order. The surrounding area is a college town which meant bars and liquor stores. Some took their beer bottles and tossed them at police cars and officers. The Ohio National Guard was called in, a state of emergency was declared, and the bars were ordered closed.
Over 2,000 people protestors had gathered between Thursday and Monday, the day of the shooting. The Ohio National Guard and the local police were dispatched to maintain order, and kept a reasonable distance. The protestors would not disperse and the use of tear gas proved ineffectual. It is unknown what it was that set off the shooting, but in the end, four students were killed and over a dozen more were injured—not all of whom were protestors but some unlucky passersby.
Twitter Responds to Urban Outfitters
Since last night, Urban Outfitters has been the number one trend on Twitter, with commentators posting their disgust at UO as well as posting satirical suggestions as to what type of clothing the Philadelphia based company might soon release.
— The Boy Wonder (@FifthBoyWonder) September 15, 2014
Instead of shopping at Urban Outfitters, save big money by murdering and stripping your own crack addicts. #DavesTipsForTeens
— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) September 15, 2014
— Sean Gabay (@ixSEANxi) September 15, 2014
— chet (@chetprtr) September 15, 2014
BREAKING: In light of Urban Outfitters controversy, Target quickly shelves their planned "brain-spattered JFK suit coat"
— Fun_Beard (@Fun_Beard) September 15, 2014
The real controversy with Urban Outfitters is that people are still shopping there.
— Nico Bellay (@IAMFASHlON) September 15, 2014
Urban Outfitters Apologizes, Announces New Line
The backlash on Twitter and just about every other platform made Urban Outfitters tweet an apology for the Kent State sweatshirt.
Urban Outfitters sincerely apologizes for any offense our Vintage Kent State Sweatshirt may have caused. It (cont) https://t.co/o3oKyPJFu8
— Urban Outfitters (@UrbanOutfitters) September 15, 2014
Shortly thereafter, Urban Outfitters tweeted a link to their new fall line.
— Urban Outfitters (@UrbanOutfitters) September 8, 2014
Urban Outfitters Controversies
Urban Outfitters has often released controversial clothing. In the past they have released “Kiss Me, I’m Drunk,” and “Eat Less” shirts which critics have accused the company of making light of addiction and anorexia. Actress Sofia Bush has actively boycotted UO since 2010.
— Sophia Bush (@SophiaBush) September 15, 2014