Urban Outfitters Removes Offensive Yellow Star of David T-Shirt
Urban Outfitters has removed a yellow men’s t-shirt with a six-pointed star from its website after the Anti-Defamation League claimed it was too similar to the Star of David that Nazis forced Jewish people to wear. Time Magazine reports that the $100 yellow shirt, designed by the Danish label Wood Wood (whose spring/summer collection makes use of the same symbol), showed up on the Urban Outfitters website last Thursday and has since been taken down.
“We find this use of symbolism to be extremely distasteful and offensive, and we are outraged that your company would make this product available to your customers,” said Barry Morrison, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League.
The designer claims that this photo must have been an early prototype of the shirt, which does NOT feature the Star of David: “First of all the graphic is not the Star of David, and I can assure you that this is in no way a reference to judaism, nazism or the holocaust,” Wood Wood said. “The graphic came from working with patchwork and geometric patterns for our spring/summer collection ‘State of Mind’. However when we received the prototype of this particular style we did recognize the resemblance, which is why we decided not to include the star patch on the final production T-shirt. I assume the image people have reacted to comes from Urban Outfitters´ web site. This must be a photograph of an early prototype. I am sorry if anyone was offended seeing the shirt, it was of course never our intention to hurt any feelings with this.”
This isn’t the first time Urban Outfitters has been caught in a t-shirt scandal. The Native American Navajo Nation sued UO earlier this year for selling Navajo underwear and hip-flasks, which the tribe called “derogatory and scandalous.” Another shirt with the slogan “Irish I was Drunk” was also criticized.
Even more controversy: a few weeks ago, Facebook users spread the word that Urban Outfitters CEO Richard Hayne gave money to Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum’s campaign. (Pretty ironic if you buy an Obama t-shirt at Urban and support the Republicans, right?) Politifact partially debunked the posting, since Hayne hasn’t contributed to Santorum’s now-defunct campaign, but Hayne HAS supported Santorum in the past. “Like many people, I have some affinity for Rick Santorum, and I have problems with some of his positions,” Hayne said. He wouldn’t comment further on his position on issues such as gay marriage.