Urban Outfitters Sweater Controversy

Urban Outfitters has officially crossed the line. Recently, the popular store released a one-of-a-kind sweater depicting the Kent State University logo with what appeared to be bloodstains. In the 1970’s, during the time of ‘make love not war’ and flower children, four students were gunned down during a Vietnam War protest. The choice to sell the sweater was ill advised. It’s entirely inappropriate and disrespectful to the dead, and you might think: “well it wasn’t intentional; they have never done anything like this before.” Unfortunately, that is not true either. Urban Outfitters has quite the track record for being completely disrespectful when it comes to other taboos topics. For example, a few years back they tried to sell a shirt that said ‘eat less’ and a shirt that said ‘depression’ and have  had countless items disrespecting the Holocaust, religion and promoting racial stereotypes. These types of things are completely insensitive to people with real mental illnesses and low self-esteem.

Kent State University responded to the sweater on their website, “May 4, 1970, was a watershed moment for the country and especially the Kent State family. We lost four students that day while nine others were wounded and countless others were changed forever. We take great offense to a company using our pain for their publicity and profit. This item is beyond poor taste and trivializes a loss of life that still hurts the Kent State community today.”

Urban Outfitters did issue an apology via Twitter to say it was not intentional to allude to the tragic events at Kent State in 1970, but what kind of apology is that? Since when has a formal apology become: ‘well if we tweet something that counts?’ Also, how did a sweater get through a whole marketing team without one person thinking, ‘you guys this is a little too much?’

Urban Outfitters also claims that the ‘blood stains’ on the sweater are discoloration. Where is quality control when you need them? Where is the line, Urban Outfitters? The sweater in question is currently on sale on eBay to the highest bidder, because who wouldn’t want the memorabilia of Urban Outfitters laughing in the faces of families who lost loved ones all those years ago? The web outrage over this sweater has some people shouting for a boycott of Urban Outfitters, but the problem with that is that today’s society does not know where the line is. They better find it, because things like this should never happen.