Clothing retailer Urban Outfitters has come under fire online for selling a faux-vintage sweatshirt emblazoned with the Kent State seal and splatters that appear to be blood stains.
This would appear to be a reference to the shootings at the college on May 4, 1970, in which four unarmed college students were killed by Ohio National Guardsmen during a Vietnam War protest.
After Buzzfeed pointed out the item, it quickly sold out, and its listing page appears to have been removed from the company’s website, though the item appeared on eBay shortly thereafter, listed at many times its original price.
Urban Outfitters has come under fire before for insensitive or purposely outrageous clothing: At one point, the company marketed a T-shirt that simply featured the word “depression” in a repeating pattern.
Urban Outfitters has also drawn the ire of activist groups for its appropriation of Native American patterns and iconography, as well as a host of other offensive or unfortunate decisions.
But so close to the killing of Michael Brown, and with shootings like Virginia Tech and Sandy Hook still fresh in the memory, the latest controversy has social media in an uproar.
Update: Urban Outfitters has apologized for the shirt. “It was never our intention to allude to the tragic events that took place at Kent State in 1970 and we are extremely saddened that this item was perceived as such There is no blood on this shirt nor has this item been altered in any way. The red stains are discoloration from the original shade of the shirt and the holes are from natural wear and fray.”