“’Get it or regret it!’ read the description for a “vintage,” one-of-a-kind Kent State sweatshirt that Urban Outfitters briefly offered for just $129,” washingtonpost.com reports. “However, the fact that there was just one available for purchase is far from the most regrettable part of the item: the shirt was decorated with a blood spatter-like pattern, reminiscent of the 1970 ‘Kent State Massacre.'” Not to mention bullet holes. Anyway, UO’s fashion statement didn’t go down well. Kent State, amongst others, vilified the sweatshirt as crass exploitation. Urban Outfitters, recently dinged for a yellow shirt with a star reminiscent of the those worn by Jews in concentration and slave labor camps, backpedalled on the Kent State sweatshirt so fast they almost fell over . . .
Urban Outfitters issued an apology for the product on Monday morning, claiming that the product was “was purchased as part of our sun-faded vintage collection.” The company added that the bright red stains and holes, which certainly seemed to suggest blood, were simply “discoloration from the original shade of the shirt and the holes are from natural wear and fray.” The statement added: “We deeply regret that this item was perceived negatively.”
God I hate that. Both of my ex-wives used the same kind of non-apology apology. Not “I’m sorry.” “I’m sorry if you feel that way.” Added to the weasel words, well, no. That said, I don’t think Urban Outfitters should have pulled the shirt.
For one thing, they have a First Amendment right to make whatever kind of sweatshirt statement they want. If we bay for their metaphorical blood over this, we can’t criticize schools for expelling students with NRA-adorned or gun-themed apparel. For another, they should have donated all the proceeds to an organization shining a light on police militarization. Or some such thing. Right?