Retail chain Urban Outfitters recently debuted a sweatshirt that was no ordinary sweatshirt. The $129 shirt was printed with the Kent State University logo and various holes surrounded by what looked like blood splatter. The obvious reference was to the deaths of four Kent State University students and the wounding of nine by nervous and unprepared soldiers from the Ohio National Guard during a protest in 1970. Granted, most customers of Urban Outfitters weren’t alive when the incident happened 44 years ago, but that’s no excuse for such a callous, insensitive, and astonishing stupid product.
As The Weekly Standard pointed out, “This is an industry that tried to make heroin addiction, even female starvation seem glamorous for profit.” But even with those extremes, the public was quick to denounce the retailer.
Under heavy public pressure, Urban Outfitters pulled the sweatshirt and issued one of the most ridiculous “apologies” in the history of corporate blunders. A company spokesman called the red stains “discolorations” and the holes were merely “natural wear and fray.” “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.”
Wow. Lame-o. As the Standard pointed out – “Out of the 4,000 or so colleges and universities in America, the name of Kent State just happened to bubble to the surface at Urban Outfitters.”
I’d love to know who in the Urban Outfitters product development department thought this would be a good idea.
Whoever it is, he or she needs a re-education in being human.