Urban Outfitters has been forced to remove a ‘blood-stained’ sweatshirt from its website and apologise on Twitter, after backlash that the item alluded to the 1970 shooting at Kent State University.
The sweatshirt, which featured what looked like bullet holes and blood spatterings, drew controversy as shoppers perceived it to reference a shooting at the university in Ohio, when four students were killed and nine injured after the National Guard opened fire at demonstrators protesting against military action in Cambodia.
Twitter users expressed their distaste at the jumper, with one writing: “You’re an embarrassment, @UrbanOutfitters. And the BS apology is almost as bad as the product to begin with.”
Another said: “Urban Outfitters is the Westboro Baptist Church of overpriced apparel.” In reference to the extremist Baptist Church in the US.
Urban Outfitters took to Twitter to apologise “for any offense our Vintage Kent State Sweatshirt may have caused”. However it denied that it was in any way connected to the shooting, insisting the item was part of a ‘sun-faded’ collection.
“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,” read the post.
“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.”
Urban Outfitters sincerely apologizes for any offense our Vintage Kent State Sweatshirt may have caused. It (cont) http://t.co/o3oKyPJFu8
— Urban Outfitters (@UrbanOutfitters) September 15, 2014
Kent State university blasted the sweatshirt as “beyond poor taste” and said that it “trivialises a loss of life that still hurts the Kent State community today.”