Does Scandal Affect Where You Shop?

When it comes to Urban Outfitters, the trendy, youthful, hippy clothing store seems to have a plethora of customers catering to its colorful patterns and designs.

However, through heavy research from the past, there may be some things we may not know about it regarding its degradation of race.

According to TheWeek.com, UO apparently has shown discrepancies among their product placement offending Native Americans, Jews, blacks and other controversies.

Now back in 2012, the popular clothing store caused controversy with their ‘Jewish Star’ t-shirt. And last year, a female employee at their Fifth Avenue location in New York filed a lawsuit against the franchise company. Her claims of sexual misconduct from customers went “ignored” by managers.

Check out TheWeek’s list of just a few mishaps Urban Outfitters has been affiliated with over time:

  1. A tapestry ‘eerily reminiscent’ of the Holocaust

In February 2015, the Anti-Defamation League assailed Urban Outfitters for selling a gray and white striped tapestry emblazoned with pink triangles. The design, the ADL claimed, was ‘eerily reminiscent’ of the clothing Nazis forced gay prisoners to wear in concentration camps. “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,” ADL National Director Abraham Foxman said in a statement.

 

  1. A “vintage,” faux-bloodstained Kent State Sweatshirt

In September 2014, Urban Outfitters was charged with exploring “the outer reaches of bad taste” after selling what seemed to be a faux blood-spattered “Vintage Kent State Sweatshirt” for $129. The sweatshirt was widely interpreted as a reference to 1970’s Kent State massacre, in which four unarmed students were shot and killed by the Ohio National Guard during a Vietnam War protest. As part of Urban Outfitters’ “Vintage Finds,” only a single sweatshirt was available; shortly after BuzzFeed wrote about the sweatshirt, someone purchased it and listed it on eBay for $550, with a $2,500 Buy It Now price. “It was never our intention to allude to the tragic events that took place at Kent State in 1970,” said Urban Outfitters in a statement, “and we are extremely saddened that this item was perceived as such.”

  1. Pill bottle-shaped alcohol paraphernalia

Prescription drug abuse is the country’s leading cause of accidental death, so it’s not surprising that Urban Outfitters’ line of shot glasses, pint glasses, and flasks resembling prescription pill bottles raised eyebrows. Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear and Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) were particularly upset — their state loses more people to prescription drugs than to traffic accidents — and joined a push to get the retailer to pull the items. In a letter to the store’s CEO, Beshear called the sale of “teen-targeted items that glamorize prescription drugs…repulsive.” Urban Outfitters stopped selling the products shortly thereafter.

  1. Pro-booze shirts for kids

Urban Outfitters’ biggest customer pool is the 18-to-24 crowd, followed by the under-18 age group. So it should be no surprise that anti-underage-drinking advocates were incensed at a line of alcohol-related T-shirts being hawked by the retailer and modeled by apparently under-21 female models, just in time for back-to-school shopping. The T-shirt slogans — “I Vote for Vodka,” “Misery Loves Alcohol,” “I Drink You’re Cute,” “USA Drinking Team” — are especially galling because teenage drinking is a worrisome and growing problem that’s associated with sexual activity and decreased condom use, said Sarah B. Weir at Yahoo Shine. “For parents already rattled about kids and booze, it’s a jolt to discover these items when fall clothes shopping with one’s teen or ‘tween.”

  1. The “Punk as f**k” shirt

Upon checking on her teenage daughter’s online order from Urban Outfitters’ website, a New Jersey mom was horrified to discover that she had ordered a T-shirt that proudly displays the F-bomb. “I was flabbergasted that that would be the way Urban Outfitters presented themselves,” said Margaret Gutierrez. She also discovered that the T-shirt’s “Punk as f**k” logo and a pink marijuana-leaf motif were being sold on stickers, and requested that Urban Outfitters remove all the offending items. Although the retailer declined to comment, the items were quietly removed from the website.

Now you can see their compilation of additional controversies here. Here’s the “make you think” part – does controversy surrounding your favorite stores dictate the outcome of giving them business?

Émil Flemmon

When you're a Capricorn, the only thing you really know how to do is work, use diplomacy, and allow sarcasm to be your comedic charm. Ain't nothing like a educated kid from Alabama living big city dreams through a pen a paper...oh yeah, and sarcasm.