Teen sensation Miley Cyrus is urging her one million Twitter followers to boycott Urban Outfitters because its CEO supports anti-gay extremist Rick Santorum, a former U.S. senator who’s seeking the GOP presidential nomination.
Cyrus recently tweeted: “If we allow gay marriage next thing u know people will be marrying gold fish” – Rick Santorum UO contributed $13,000 to this mans (sic) campaign.”
Although Urban Outfitters projects a hip, open-minded image that attracts young, educated urban consumers, the chairman of the Philadelphia-based corporation is Richard Hayne, a far-right tea bagger who contributes to extremist candidates and causes. The corporation is also the parent company of Anthropologie and Free People.
Interestingly, the corporation’s CEO is Glen Senk, an openly gay man who has been in a committed relationship for over 30 years, according to the New Yorker. But Hayne, the founder and current chairman, has become a lightning rod for his reactionary conservative views.
In December 2008, Urban Outfitters was hit with charges of discrimination after an “I Support Same-Sex Marriage” T-shirt was suddenly removed from the shelves of its California stores. A spokesperson for the company claimed the shirt was yanked because it wasn’t selling, but retail observers were skeptical, given the ideological friction between the company’s CEO and chairman.
UO has also gotten into hot water for allegedly ripping off designs from independent artists.
During the 2004 political season, UO sold a T-shirt emblazoned with the words, “Voting Is for Old People,” which critics said was a stealth attempt to support conservatives by encouraging young people not to vote. The T-shirt prompted student groups to stage protests.
A Facebook page called “I stopped shopping at Urban Outfitters, you should too,” lays out the charges against Hayne. Meanwhile, Cyrus is receiving praise from equality advocates for publicizing the issue.
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