Human Rights Campaign and the Anti-Defamation League on Feb. 10 blasted Urban Outfitters for the retailer’s sale of a striped tapestry featuring a single pink triangle, an unmistakable echo of uniforms Nazis issued to suspected gay male concentration camp prisoners.
“Urban Outfitters has seized yet again on imagery of the Holocaust, one of the most abhorrent chapters in world history, in an appalling effort to attract attention,” Fred Sainz, vice president for communications at HRC, the nation’s largest LGBT civil rights group, stated in a news release. “This is an affront to LGBT people, Holocaust survivors, their families, and anyone with an ounce of humanity.”
The tapestry is made of a gray-and-white striped fabric, imprinted with a bright pink triangle that mirrors badges Nazis forced suspected gay prisoners to wear. LGBT rights advocates appropriated the pink triangle nearly four decades ago, transforming it into an iconic image of the movement.
“Whether intentional or not, this gray and white stripped pattern and pink triangle combination is deeply offensive and should not be mainstreamed into popular culture,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL national director and a Holocaust survivor. “We urge Urban Outfitters to immediately remove the product eerily reminiscent of clothing forced upon the victims of the Holocaust from their stores and online.”
In a letter to Urban Outfitters president and CEO Richard A. Hayne, ADL expressed its concern over the insensitive design and the company’s periodic use of products within the realm of Holocaust imagery.
HRC, in its statement, noted that this is not the first time Urban Outfitters has been called out. In 2012, the retailer marketed a T-shirt featuring a yellow star that echoed the identifying Star of David patch Jewish people were forced to wear under the Nazi regime. That same year, the Navajo Nation sued the retailer over its use of the “Navajo” name in a line of clothing and accessories, including items the tribe found distasteful and racially demeaning.
In a letter to Urban Outfitters President and CEO Richard A. Hayne, ADL expressed its concern over the insensitive design and the company’s periodic use of products within the realm of Holocaust imagery.
Also, last year Urban Outfitters sold a “Vintage Kent State Sweatshirt’ that featured fake blood stains. In 1970, four unarmed students were killed, and nine other people wounded, when members of the National Guard opened fire on Vietnam War protesters.
The company ultimately apologized for “any offense” the Kent State shirt may have caused.
“This retailer has repeatedly embraced the abhorrent, the racist, the bigoted,” Sainz stated. “We urge them to reject this strategy, to apologize and keep this kind of offensive merchandise off their shelves.”