Printed T-shirts are a staple item for Urban Outfitters, but in a rare move, the company yanked one from their California shelves last week. Tara Littman of Support Shirts designed the shirt in question, which features the statement “I Support Same Sex Marriage,” clearly a hot-button item in the Proposition 8 state. Less than a week after it first arrived in stores and online, the shirt was gone. A buyer cited the reason as “too much bad press” to Littman, though the designer couldn’t find more than one blog entry that dissed the shirt. (Funny how a youth-targeted company blamed the Internet.) But we had to wonder if there was more to it than just bad press. After all, Urban has carried more sensational items than this in the past. In a 2006 interview, the Boston Globe asked Richard Hayne, the CEO of Urban Outfitters, if he felt regrets or second thoughts about potentially offensive products, and he said “very, very, very rarely.” So is the veto of Littman’s shirt just a case of good ol’ discrimination? Consider this: Hayne is a notably right-wing Republican who supports senators who vote for legislation against gay marriage. In fact, last May the British Website ThisIsMoney.co.uk wrote, “Hayne must be the only retailer whose expansion plans depend on no one finding out who he really is.” Interesting where your money goes, isn’t it? When a right-wing Republican is the one concocting your anti-Establishment image, you start to wonder if the entire hipster movement has been duped into becoming puppets of Hayne’s billionaire income. Because if we’re all suckers, that just sucks.
Mixed Messages: Why Did Urban Outfitters Pull a T-Shirt Supporting Gay Marriage? [Racked]
Urban Outfitters to stay focused on youth [Boston Globe]
I Support Support Shirts [Brad Walsh]
BAE set for rough time in the arms of Justice [This Is Money]