Urban Outfitters Pulls “Bloody” Kent State Shirt, Apologizes for Alluding to Shooting
Urban Outfitters is apologizing after putting a seemingly blood-spattered Kent State sweatshirt for sale on its website on Sunday, after it drew outcry in light of the infamous mass shooting at the Ohio school.
The retailer, no stranger to controversy, called the item a “Vintage Kent State Sweatshirt,” and posted the description, “Washed soft and perfectly broken in, this vintage Kent State sweatshirt is cut in a loose, slouchy fit. Excellent vintage condition. We only have one, so get it or regret it!”
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Available for $129, it sold out in a matter of hours.
It’s design, however, immediately sparked outrage, for its resemblance to blood stains — and the fact that a major shooting took place at Kent State in 1970, in which four people were killed and nine wounded in a clash with the Army National Guard during a Vietnam War protest.
Many took to Twitter to voice their complaints, and Urban Outfitters responded by issuing an apology on Monday morning.
It reads in full:
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.
Kent Statement also released its own statement condemning the sweatshirt:
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.
We invite the leaders of this company as well as anyone who invested in this item to tour our May 4 Visitors Center, which opened two years ago, to gain perspective on what happened 44 years ago and apply its meaning to the future.
What do you think of the controversy?