Urban Outfitters Pulls Offensive 'Blood-Splattered' Shirt After Uproar (PHOTO)

kent state urban outfitters

Take a look at this vintage-style Urban Outfitters shirt. It's just a faded, pink sweatshirt, right? Or is it? Look closely and you'll notice it reads "Kent State University" and appears to have blood splatters, due to the uneven fading.

And if you know your history, you'll know why this one-of-a-kind sweatshirt Urban Outfitters was selling for $130 should make your stomach lurch -- and why the retailer had to apologize for it yesterday.

Wait, you do know why a seemingly blood-splattered Kent State University sweatshirt would be offensive, right?

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Ooookay, quick history lesson: Back in 1970, the Army National Guard fired on a group of unarmed students protesting the Vietnam War on the campus of Kent State University in Ohio. Four students were killed and nine people were injured. It became known as the Kent State Massacre.

Here's one Twitter user's response.

Yeah. So maybe selling a Kent State sweatshirt with what resembles freshly splattered blood and some holes is not such a brilliant idea. Was it supposed to be some sort of sick joke? If so, it was in horrifically bad taste. There's nothing funny about the senseless slaughter of innocent young people.

According to Urban Outfitters, the "Vintage Kent State" sweatshirt was not a reference to the massacre. The pink and red splatters were just an unfortunate coincidence. The retailer issued an apology via Twitter on Sunday.

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.

Needless to say, the one-of-a-kind sweatshirt is no longer on the website. Supposedly it sold out and is now for sale on eBay. At least they made only one.

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I'm glad Urban Outfitters apologized and clarified the concept behind the sweatshirt. But still -- WTF?!? Through the entire process, from design to production to marketing, no one raised their hand and said, "Um, ya think maybe this sweatshirt is kinda sorta in bad taste?" Are we really that clueless about our own history?

After Zara's "White Is the New Black" T-shirt controversy, it kind of makes me wonder if fast fashion has become too fast. It seems like too many clothes are being thrown into stores without enough thought and reflection.

I know faded and distressed clothing is a trend this fall. I know it's just a sweatshirt. But then people buy these clothes, and wear them, and they live on in our culture. Fashion, ignorance, and freedom of expression over empathy, respect for history, and compassion -- is that what we're about nowadays?

What kind of person do you think would buy and wear this sweatshirt?

 

Image via Urban Outfitters

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