I'm From Ohio. This Is Not OK.
Urban Outfitters sold a "bloody," hole-filled "vintage" Kent State University sweatshirt until Monday. While it's possible some Americans may not know about Kent State, the massacre is burned into my mind and I wasn't even alive when it happened.
In 1970, four unarmed students who had been protesting the Vietnam War were gunned down by Ohio National Guard troops who fired into the crowd. So many iconic images and enduring songs resulted from the shootings that employees at Urban Outfitters shouldn't have even had to open a history book to understand why selling that sweatshirt was offensive. Then there's also the fact that the company is based in Philadelphia—in a state that shares a border with Ohio.
Selling the garment may seem like a strange decision for a company with publicly traded stock to make, but it's not unusual for Urban Outfitters. And Urban Outfitters isn't alone.
In August, Spain's Zara had to pull off the market a "sheriff's" shirt that looked remarkably like apparel Nazis forced Jews to wear in the World War II concentration camps. It may also be difficult for Zara to claim ignorance of anti-Semitism because of, well, the Spanish Inquisition.
So, for the record, Urban Outfitters and Zara apologized for selling the offending apparel.
"Urban Outfitters sincerely apologizes for any offense our Vintage Kent State Sweatshirt may have caused," @UrbanOutfitters tweets at 10:01 a.m. Monday on TwitLonger. "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."