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American Apparel, the company that makes “legalize gay” T-shirts, donated 500 of them to UW-Whitewater in response to a September hate crime. The company shipped the T-shirts to the student organization IMPACT to give away.
In addition, the company bought a full-page ad condemning the attack in the campus’ student newspaper.
Freshman Lauren Meyer was wearing the T-shirt near the UW-Whitewater campus when she was punched in the face and called a “faggot” by two men Sept. 26.
Hundreds of students rallied Oct. 15 to protest the assault, as well as another attack that occurred on the campus in December 2009. In that incident, a woman was approached by three men in a campus parking lot and punched in the face as they said, “God fucking hates dykes.”
Meyer, wearing the same T-shirt that she wore when she was attacked, addressed the Oct. 15 rally to thunderous applause, GazetteXtra.com reported.
“Hopefully, people will start to change and be open-minded because stuff like this really shouldn’t be happening,” she said. “I know I’m not going to change for anybody just because they feel they have the right to knock me down.”
American Apparel reported that employees of its Washington, D.C., store received threatening phone calls after the “legalize gay” T-shirt was displayed in its store window, which was smashed.
“American Apparel is a company that believes in freedom of expression and equal rights,” the company said in a written statement. “Despite the unfortunate event that triggered (the attack on Meyers), the immediate response of this young woman’s fellow students to hold a campuswide rally as a show of unity was incredibly inspiring.”
Although Meyer provided police with a detailed physical description of the suspects, no one has been taken into custody.