Tag Archives: Urban Outfitters

Rights groups blast Urban Outfitters for ‘Holocaust Garb’ tapestry

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.”

Urban bigot

Teen sensation Miley Cyrus is urging her 1 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 campaign.”

Miley Cyrus tweets about Urban Outfitters’ anti-gay chairman

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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